Pubdate: Fri, 13 Jun 2003
Source: Daily Press (VA)
Copyright: 2003 The Daily Press
Author: Robert R. Bradley Jr.
Bookmark: (Incarceration)
Bookmark: (Treatment)


Congratulations on your June 1 article concerning America's skyrocketing
prison population and the high price we are now paying for it ("As prisons
fill to record levels, questions arise").

In addition to the information contained in your article, I would also like
to point out a few additional facts that I believe are important for your
readers (and our political leaders) to be aware of:

The Department of Justice estimates that about 75 percent of those in prison
today were involved with drugs or alcohol prior to their arrest, many for
simply having drugs in their possession.

Recent studies have shown repeatedly that unless they receive proper
treatment for their addictions, between 70 and 85 percent of them will be
back in prison within three years after being released. Treatment programs
can cut re-incarceration rates by two-thirds and save states millions of
dollars each year!

In evaluating a program operating in the Brooklyn area of New York since
1990, for example, Columbia University recently found that addicts who
completed the program were 67 percent less likely to be returned to prison
than those who hadn't, producing substantial reductions in both costs and
drug-related crime.

And previous studies by the University of Delaware and by the state of
California also showed reductions in re-incarceration rates of between 60
and 70 percent.

I urge your readers to investigate the facts for themselves. History has
proved time and time again that treatment is the answer to reducing prison
populations, crime and skyrocketing costs.

Robert R. Bradley Jr.

Chief executive officer

Serenity House

Newport News
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