Journalism 2 Class luis jennifer mason robert forrest casey caitlin sarah mason lia alexandra luis natalie

Monday, April 26, 2010


by: Lia

It’s interesting that here in America we so willingly lock people away in prison for crimes that they committed instead of spending less money to get them the help they need.

Let’s take someone with a mental disorder for example. Their mental disorder might not be enough to send them to a psychiatric hospital, but it’s enough to make them unable to function properly in society. According to Mental Health America, “An estimated 54 million Americans suffer from some form of mental disorder in a given year.” Yet, with treatment, “many people with mental illness return to a productive and fulfilling life.”

What about drug addicts and dealers? When they are locked in prison for their crime, do they at least get substance abuse counseling? To me, that would be the most logical step. Only 1 out of 10 drug offenders actually get the counseling they need.

Most drug abusers that go into prison end up abusing drugs there as well. When they get out of prison they do what their body has trained them to do, they use again, and then get put back in prison. It’s a vicious cycle.

In the mean time we are spending all this money to keep them in prison, when it would cost less to give them the treatment needed. According to the Prison Policy Initiative, it costs $23,000 each year to keep just one prisoner in prison.

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