And yes, we still need jails. Jail should not punish people just for using drugs; lengthy incarceration won’t help. Rather, we must use the criminal justice system strategically to promote behavior change in people whose drug use threatens public safety. The nation’s most effective judicially imposed therapeutic program for methamphetamine, Honolulu’s HOPE probation, employs frequent drug testing and contingency management with modest-length—typically one to several day—jail terms. After a year, felony offenders enrolled in HOPE reduced new arrests by 55% and positive drug tests by 72%. Its success compelled other states to follow suit, deploying frequent testing with modest jail terms to reduce alcohol use and related domestic violence.
Posted on by Kelly Smith