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States Cut Drug Treatment in Prison Programs

By Kamika Dunlap on April 20, 2010 10:50 AM

Facing budget problems, many states have been forced cut alcohol and drug treatment in prison programs.

As a result, studies have shown this will more likely increase offenders with substance abuse problems to return to prison and never receive treatment, the Associated Press reports.

In Texas, state officials are considering slashing more than $23 million from in-prison treatment programs. The state has the second largest prison system in the country.

The budget crisis states are facing has forced many of its prison to cut treatment programs for drug users, drunken drivers and sex offenders.

As previously discussed, over the next several months, California will be laying off prison workers and is expected to cut $250 million from rehabilitation spending in prisons.

Critics say in-prison treatment program cuts could not only result in higher recidivism rates, but ultimately higher prison costs.

Kansas and Pennsylvania have already reduced in-prison treatment programs that often are required as a condition of the prisoner receiving parole. Instead, offenders may stay in prison longer serving their sentences without treatment.

Only 11 percent of the nation's inmates with alcohol and drug abuse problems get treatment during their incarceration, according to the  National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University.

Critics say more cuts to the in-prison treatment programs make it more difficult for inmates to develop release plans and increase the probability that they will reoffend.

Budget constraints have forced prisons nationwide to cut at the core of prison rehabilitation programs. And although this may be a temporary fix to address this problem, many still worry how this will all play out in the end.

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