Arresting drug users proves beneficial in saving lives.
INDIANAPOLIS – Clad in their Dearborn County Jail attire and under guard, four inmates participating in a Jail Chemical Addictions Program (JCAP) made presentations Wednesday to the Indiana Attorney General’s Public Safety Coalition (PSC). The four men, along with two ex-offender graduates of the program, offered raw depictions of addiction along with this startling conclusion: “Getting arrested saved my life!” Attorney General Curtis Hill organized the PSC to focus Indiana law enforcement and other experts on finding constructive solutions to the state’s crime and drug problems. He appointed Decatur County Prosecuting Attorney Nathan Harter to chair the effort. Wednesday’s conference at the Indiana Government Center highlighted chemical addiction programs at the Boone and Dearborn county jails.
Targeting inmate populations, Hill said, represents one of the best methods of reaching drug users most in need of services. “Everyone recognizes the need for more treatment facilities,” Hill said, “but it would be unwise to expect addicts to just line up and ask for help. The nature of addiction will not allow such rational behavior.” Incarceration, therefore, plays a vital role in helping addicts recognize their need for intervention, Hill said. On Wednesday, the JCAP participants themselves confirmed they needed the constraints of jail to break their cycles of addiction. Such realities call into question the wisdom of recent trends toward reducing jail time for people arrested in connection with drug use, Hill said. “Efforts to limit jail time for drug users might be well-intended,” Hill said, “but based on what we’ve heard from inmates, one must conclude that the most compassionate course might actually be giving them more jail time.” The point of incarcerating drug users is not to dole out maximum punishment, Hill said, but rather to provide them the best possible opportunity to overcome their addiction. “When we allow drug users easily to bail out without treatment, we do them a disservice,” Hill said. “They typically go right back to the routines and habits that got them in trouble in the first place.”
A better course, he said, is to provide addicts prolonged sustainable programming while they are incarcerated followed by a solid after-care plan upon their release. Hill envisions all counties in Indiana having access to the JCAP model – either by operating their own quality programs or participating in regional JCAPs. Working with the Public Safety Coalition, Hill plans to press policymakers statewide to support jail chemical addiction programming as an effective weapon in Indiana’s ongoing battle against substance abuse. If you would like to learn more about the Public Safety Coalition, contact Outreach Coordinator Matt Row at Matthew.Row@atg.in.gov.
Provided by a News Release on June 9, 2017 from the Attorney General of the State of Indiana.