Pubdate: Tue, 11 Oct 2005
Source: Calgary Herald (CN AB)
Copyright: 2005 Calgary Herald
Author: Robert Sharpe
Bookmark: (Incarceration)
Bookmark: (Treatment)


Addicts - Re: "Forced treatment worth a try," Editorial, Oct. 2.

Drug treatment is preferable to incarceration, but an arrest should 
not be a prerequisite for rehabilitation.

Would alcoholics seek help for their illness if doing so were 
tantamount to confessing to criminal activity? Likewise, would 
putting every incorrigible alcoholic behind bars and saddling them 
with criminal records prove cost-effective?

The threat of prison that coerced treatment relies upon can backfire 
when it's actually put to use. Incarcerating non-violent drug 
offenders alongside career criminals is the equivalent of providing 
them with a taxpayer-funded education in anti-social behaviour. 
Imagine if every alcoholic were thrown in prison and given a 
permanent criminal record. How many lives would be destroyed? How 
many families torn apart? How many tax dollars would be wasted 
turning potentially productive members of society into hardened criminals?

Robert Sharpe

Arlington, Va.

Robert Sharpe is a policy analyst with Common Sense for DrugPolicy 
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