Pubdate: Mon, 11 Nov 2002
Source: Clarion-Ledger, The (MS)
Copyright: 2002 The Clarion-Ledger
Author: Mark Begonia


Surely, everyone has heard about President George W. Bush's niece Noelle 
Bush and her stint with the law ("Jeb Bush's daughter out of jail, back in 
drug rehab," Oct. 27), where she was charged with possession of crack 
cocaine and sentenced to 10 days in prison.

Rather than seeing this as another event in which people of higher stature 
are easily given second chances, the public should focus on this young 
woman's addiction and realize that continued rehab provides a more 
efficient alternative to swift punishment.

Obviously, this incident could be another situation where a first-time drug 
offender violates probation because of an unwillingness to listen, but the 
truth is that the problem might actually be, as columnist William Raspberry 
writes, "the power of the addiction" ("First-time drug abusers don't need 
jail time," Oct. 22).

Not all drug abusers neglect the advice they receive from preventative 
programs or view their punishment as a mild setback. Instead, these people 
are just incapable of controlling their addiction, which calls for more 
effective rehab, not more severe consequences.

As of this moment, penitentiaries across the United States are crammed with 
ridiculously high numbers of prisoners who are mostly repeated drug offenders.

Wouldn't it be more sensible for these drug abusers to receive additional 
rehab as opposed to stern punishment?

Why waste the nation's tax money on expanding these overcrowded prisons 
when the logical solution could be to simply provide adequate rehab, 
ensuring that these misunderstood individuals can finally conquer their 

Mark Begonia, Brandon 
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