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Incarceration, and treatment of offenders arrested while under the

Incarceration, and treatment of offenders arrested while under the influence of drugs 9

Incarceration,and treatment of offenders arrested while under the influence ofdrugs

Incarceration,and treatment of offenders arrested while under the influence ofdrugs

Substanceabuse and alcohol has a significant impact on criminal behavior andare linked to all types of crime. Studies indicate that considerableproportion of criminals that are convicted were under the influenceof alcohol or drugs when they committed the crime they are chargedfor. Crimes of violence have specifically been linked to alcoholabuse. Drugs such as crack and cocaine have also been linked withviolence. Examples of these offenses that led to imprisonment includedrug offenses, domestic violence, murder, rape, drunk driving andpublic-order offenses. Therefore, this suggests that alcohol andsubstance abuse are major contributors to criminal behaviors andactivities. People arrested and convicted of a crime while under theinfluence of drugs and/or alcohol face incarceration, treatment, orboth. Incarceration and treatment are seen to be the best alternativefor helping offenders with alcohol and drug problems. Reports suggestthat prison and treatment of drug and alcohol abuse would facilitatereduction of criminal behaviors thereby preventing future crimes andpossible re-arrests (Kendler,Ohlsson, Edwards, Lichtenstein, Sundquist &amp Sundquist, 2016).

Thispaper seeks to study on incarceration, treatment of offendersarrested and convicted of a crime while under the influence.

Brief history

Inthe early years, prisons began as houses for detaining people as theyawait trails. Once the trial was over and verdict provided, they wereeither put to death or released. In 1777, John Howard provided anidea of prisons being a place for punishment through his book, “TheState of the Prisons in England and Wales.&quot Howard as wellsuggested reforms be conducted in the prison system that is stillbeing used today such as those of incarcerating drug-relatedoffenders (Sapp,2014).The introduction of treatment programs in prisons began in the 1970swhen rehabilitation replaced retribution. The increased crime ratesthat were being experienced despite the existence of prisons led tothe development of an alternative measure for addressing criminals.Additionally, the alarming drug use in the 1980s fueled research onthe effectiveness of correctional programs and rehabilitationprograms that led to the development of treatment drug programs inprisons (Sapp,2014).

Current trends or issues

Therising rates of imprisonment of offenders of drug-related crimes andlow releases from prison have resulted to overcrowding inprisons.Approximately 80% of the crimes that results in incarcerationin the United States are associated with alcohol and drug use thathas resulted in increased number of the prisons population.Overcrowding has become a major problem that has caused prisons tostretch their resources beyond their capacity. It has created unsafeand unconstitutional conditions that often led to costly lawsuits.

Thecurrent incarceration policies on drug abusing offenders have causedmajor impacts on the social and economic costs. The incarcerationpolicies have caused economic problems on a budget of the state thatfacilitates increased rates of crime because inmates are releasedback into the society without treatment of their drug and alcohol useproblems. Treatment and training facilities are not readily availablefor the inmates, and lack of varieties of treatment modalities.Prisons should make the training facilities available, offerdifferent types of treatment, design treatment programs based on thelength of sentence of each individual inmate, and provide othersupport services to treatment including counseling, medical healthcare, vocational training and HIV education. Moreover, beforerelease, substance-abusing inmates should be provided with a planthat would ensure they receive continued treatment (Anglin, Nosyk,Jaffe, Urada &amp Evans, 2013).

Theavailability of alcohol and drugs has influenced many people in thecontemporary society to use these substances that have contributed toincreased crime rate. Most researches have been conducted recentlyand are still ongoing to determine the correlation between substanceabuse and crime. The research studies reveal that alcohol may lead toa person engaging in illicit behaviors. It also reduces inhibitionsand heightens feelings of aggressiveness causing victims andattackers to misinterpret another person’s signals especially inviolent cases. Additionally, it was found that alcohol affects thenormal functioning of the brain that impacts on the person’sability effectively deal with threatening or unexpected situations.Therefore, this explains the large proportion of inmates arrested andimprisonment for charges of crime they committed while under theinfluence (White, Fite, Pardini, Mun &amp Loeber, 2013).

Inthe contemporary society, treatment of offenders charged with adrug-related crime has been observed to be the best solution tominimizing crime rates in the society than incarceration therefore,it is being widely adopted in prisons. Reports indicate thatincarceration alone is not a very effective method of addressing drugcrimes. This is because there is a high possibility of individualsreleased from prison to relapse into the use of alcohol and drug andthus engage in criminal activities again compromising the safety ofthe public. Therefore, it is evident that treatment offers the bestoption for addressing drug-related problems (Lutman, Lynch &ampMonk-Turner, 2015). It helps drug-using offenders to change theirbehaviors and beliefs, therefore, disengage themselves from the useof drugs and crime. Additionally, treatment of offenders withdrug-related problems contributes significantly towards minimizationof costs related to crime and incarceration as a result of alcoholand drug use. Therefore, treatment discourages the use of drugsfacilitating reduction of criminal activities and minimizing arrests.A study conducted by the Washington State Institute for Public Policyrevealed that the amount of money spent on drug treatment generatesover $18cost savings compared to incarceration that yields about $37for the amount spent to provide public safety (Sapp, 2014).

Reportsindicate that most drugs and alcohol abusing inmates in prisons havelimited educational background. It is estimated that 61% of inmatescurrently in state prisons have not completed high school (Horton,2015). Lack of education has caused them to be unemployed, and thishas prompted them to engage in drug abuse and criminal activities.Therefore, most prisons are setting up more educational programs toeducate on dangers of drug abuse and offer vocational training tothese inmates to improve their vocational skills that will help themget a job after being released. Employment will improve theirself-esteem by helping them to disintegrate from the lifestyle ofsubstance abuse thus decreasing criminal activity (Horton, 2015).

Societal concerns or issues relatedto the topic

Thesociety has concerns that many prisons have not prioritized on thetreatment of drug and alcohol problems. Despite the availability ofsubstance abuse treatment programs in prisons, these treatmentprograms are greatly underdeveloped. In the recent years, thepercentage of treatment of drug using offenders has declined to someextent and this poses a danger to the safety of the public once theseindividuals are released from prison. This is because the lack oftreatment increases the chance of offenders to have a relapse andbegin to engage in criminal behaviors. Therefore, intensive treatmentprograms are required to be developed to address the problem.Coordination between providers of drug abuse, social serviceagencies, and the criminal justice professionals would enhanceoptimization of resources thus contribute significantly towardsimproving the outcomes of inmates with drug-related problems (Werb,Kamarulzaman, Meacham, Rafful, Fischer, Strathdee &amp Wood, 2016).

Additionally,concerns have been raised on educational and vocational deficits. Itis argued that these programs have not been provided effectively toaddressing the increasing problems of drug-related crimes. Most ofeducational, vocational and the General Education Developmentprograms have been reduced. The reduction of these programs has beenattributed to various problems including available of few counselors,budgetary limits, movement of inmates in and out of prison, andunavailable treatment space (Werb, Kamarulzaman, Meacham, Rafful,Fischer, Strathdee &amp Wood, 2016).

Theincreased use of alcohol and substance abuse poses threats to thesafety of the public, and this has raised a lot of concerns amongpeople in the society because of its links to crime. It is believedthat drugs make people more criminal resulting in increased criminalbehavior. Alcohol has been widely acknowledged for its potential forcontributing to crime and criminal behavior. Therefore, incarcerationand treatment are believed to be effective methods for addressing theproblem of drug abuse and criminal behavior and protecting the peoplefrom dangers of drug use (Horton, 2015).

Significance or relevance of topicto the counseling profession

Counselingis an important element in prisons that provides additional supportto treatment programs for inmates. Incarceration and treatment ofoffenders with drug use abuse is relevant to the counselingprofession because it provides them with the opportunity to offerhelp and support to inmates. Inmates with drug abusing problems mayexperience psychological disorders, and thus they can be helpedthrough counseling. Additionally, counselors can help inmates withdrug abusing problems to overcome the urge of drug abuse and to avoidrelapse. These are achieved through counseling that is provided inprisons. Counseling programs allow counselors to improve the skillsof inmates that will enable them to live productive lives in thecommunity. Counseling programs focus on modifying the ways ofthinking and criminal attitudes among inmates with drug problems.Working with substance-abusing inmates enables counselors to improvetheir skills and knowledge on how to deal with criminals thusenhancing their profession (Varghese,Magaletta, Fitzgerald &amp McLearen, 2015).


Itis evident that incarceration and treatment will have significance inreducing crime rates in future. Studies have indicated that reducedcrime rates have enormous public safety benefits, and would reducethe rate of incarceration thus reducing the social and economiccosts. Reduced incarceration would contribute towards minimizing theproblem of overcrowding currently experienced in prisons as a resultof a large population of imprisonment of offenders with drug-relatedproblems. Therefore, a combination of incarceration and treatmentwould have profound positive impacts towards the reduction of crimesin the society (Mitchell,MacKenzie &amp Wilson, 2012).


Incarcerationand treatment of offenders arrested and convicted while under theinfluence have played a significant role in reducing crime. Alcoholand substance abuse have been linked to crime and criminal behavior.Research has revealed that alcohol use reduces inhibitions andheightens feelings of aggressiveness. Also, it affects the normalfunctioning of the brain that impact on the person’s ability toeffectively deal with threatening or unexpected situations.Therefore, treatment and incarceration of offenders charged with adrug-related crime have been observed to be the best solution tominimizing crime rates in the society.


Anglin,M. D., Nosyk, B., Jaffe, A., Urada, D., &amp Evans, E. (2013).Offender diversion into substance use disorder treatment: theeconomic impact of California’s Proposition 36. Americanjournal of public health,103(6),1096-1102.

Horton,J. S. (2015). SocietalDysfunction: The Floundering Policies of Rehabilitation andIncarceration for non-violent alcohol and drug offenders in theUnited States of America(Doctoral dissertation, The University of Mississippi).

Kendler,K. S., Ohlsson, H., Edwards, A. C., Lichtenstein, P., Sundquist, K.,&amp Sundquist, J. (2016). A novel sibling-based design to quantifygenetic and shared environmental effects: application to drug abuse,alcohol use disorder and criminal behavior. Psychologicalmedicine,46(8),1639.

Lutman,B., Lynch, C., &amp Monk-Turner, E. (2015). De-Demonizing the‘Monstrous’ Drug Addict: A Qualitative Look at SocialReintegration Through Rehabilitation and Employment. CriticalCriminology,23(1),57-72.

Mitchell,O., MacKenzie, D., &amp Wilson, D. (2012). The effectiveness ofincarceration-based drug treatment on criminal behavior: A systematicreview. CampbellSystematic Reviews,8(18).

Sapp,C. E. (2014). Rehabilitate or Incarcerate: A Comparative Analysis ofthe United States` Sentencing Laws on Low-Level Drug Offenders andPortugal`s Decriminalization of Low-Level Drug Offenses. CardozoJ. Int`l &amp Comp. L.,23,63.

Varghese,F. P., Magaletta, P. R., Fitzgerald, E. L., &amp McLearen, A. M.(2015). Counseling psychologists and correctional settings:Opportunities between profession and setting. CounsellingPsychology Quarterly,28(2),200-214.

Werb,D., Kamarulzaman, A., Meacham, M. C., Rafful, C., Fischer, B.,Strathdee, S. A., &amp Wood, E. (2016). The effectiveness ofcompulsory drug treatment: A systematic review. InternationalJournal of Drug Policy,28,1-9.

White,H. R., Fite, P., Pardini, D., Mun, E. Y., &amp Loeber, R. (2013).Moderators of the dynamic link between alcohol use and aggressivebehavior among adolescent males. Journalof abnormal child psychology,41(2),211-222.