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AG touts benefits of incarcerating drug offenders to help end cycle of addiction

June 9, 2017

Indiana’s attorney general is advocating the benefits of incarcerating drug addicts, saying chemical addiction programs that target inmate populations are among the best methods of helping drug users on the road to recovery.

Specifically, Attorney General Curtis Hill pointed to the success of the Jail Chemical Addictions Program, which recently made a presentation to the Attorney General’s Public Safety Coalition, a group tasked with “finding constructive solutions to the state’s crime and drug problems.”

According to participants in the Dearborn County Jail Chemical Addictions Program, being arrested and sentenced to incarceration helped save their lives.

“Everyone recognizes the need for more treatment facilities, but it would be unwise to expect addicts to just line up and ask for help,” Hill said in a statement Friday. “The nature of addiction will not allow such rational behavior.”

Instead, incarceration “plays a vital role in helping addicts recognize their need for intervention,” Hill said. While recent trends have pushed for reductions in jail time for drug offenders, the attorney general said the wisdom of that trend is called into question by the testimonies of the JCAP participants who say going to jail helped them break the cycle of their addictions.

“Efforts to limit jail time for drug users might be well-intended, but based on what we’ve heard from inmates, one must conclude that the most compassionate course might actually be giving them more jail time,” he said.

The Attorney General went on to clarify that incarcerating drug offenders is not to subject them to the maximum punishment, but rather to “provide them the best possible opportunity to overcome their addiction.”

Hill said he hopes all Indiana counties will have access to the JCAP model, and he plans to press state policymakers to support such programming “as an effective weapon in Indiana’s ongoing battle against substance abuse.”
 

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