Pubdate: Tue, 13 Jun 2000
Source: San Diego Union Tribune (CA)
Copyright: 2000 Union-Tribune Publishing Co.
Contact:  PO Box 120191, San Diego, CA, 92112-0191
Fax: (619) 293-1440
Author: Davis  S. Gray, Ralph Whitaker


Re: "Freedom behind bars" (Insight, June 4):

Jim and Ed Gogek are correct and accurate in their presentation of 
in-prison substance-abuse treatment and the need for mandatory treatment, 
after-care and 12-step involvement. It is, however, a limited view of the 
social impact and benefits to society!

I have worked in the treatment of addicts and violent offenders at Donovan 
State Prison -- adolescents involved in substance abuse, gang activity and 
behavioral problems; young children, the victims of neglect and abuse; 
incest and rape victims; and functional adults with drinking problems. What 
do they have in common? They and/or someone in their family have drug or 
alcohol problems.

Providing substance-abuse treatment for criminals not only reduces the 
crime rate, but also the cost of building and maintaining new prisons, 
per-capita police protection, courts, welfare rolls and child protective 
services, insurance rates and domestic violence programs. The potential 
savings from "sane" treatment investments are phenomenal.

Davis  S. Gray, San Diego

Clearly, simply being in prison is punishment. But without rehabilitation, 
it's almost pointless to dicker about what's a fair term. Most former 
inmates will return to crime. The high incidence of drug abuse and broken 
lives (not necessarily in that order) virtually ensure it.

Prison time without rehab is cruel and unusual punishment. And the numbers 
reveal that we're beyond individual aberration and into major societal 

In a business that is seemingly so monolithic, how did the Corcoran 
substance-abuse treatment facility come into being all by itself? How soon 
will it be adopted system-wide? If not, why not?

Ralph Whitaker
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