Many people do not really understand fully the meaning of the term Drug offender.' One is called a drug offender not because they use drugs, but rather because they have committed a crime that is directly or indirectly linking them to drugs. It could range from possession of drugs, being a dealer, mule or even a lookout. The drug cartels have a cycle of players. They include the dealers, the lookouts, and the drug users. Many have argued that drug offenders should not be convicted, but rather they should be treated. It all depends on the role which the player has in the cycle that will determine whether they need to be locked up, or they need treatment (Downing).
In as much as I agree with the fact that the drug offenders have no place in prison but rather in rehabilitation centers, it is also dependent on the role that the individuals play in the cartel. Downing states that it is very unfair for a young, energetic youth to be locked up for possession of drugs because they interact with hardcore criminals who socialize them with the violent prison norms. After being released, these ex-convicts are most likely to revert back in a span of about three years because they cannot find decent jobs as a result of their criminal record .Contrary to that, many non-drug offenders could highly benefit from the treatment. Most addicts end up in prison because of crimes such as robberies, muggings and burglaries. This person will greatly benefit from a rehab that will treat them off the addiction by making them understand the consequences of the drugs. The rehabs will also train them to be able to find legal ways of making money and in the end they will quit vices like robbery. This is where the difference between the prison and the rehab is for both drug offenders and the non-drug offenders. It should, however, be noted with concern that when setting up this treatment centers, many dwell on the illegal drugs and forget alcohol, yet many people are imprisoned for alcoholic offences ranging from petty things like check kiting to murder. This, therefore, means that centers which also address alcohol have a greater impact on public health and safety as opposed to those that confine themselves to illegal drugs.
According to Downing, many argue that the non-violent offenders should not be imprisoned because they do not harm anyone. It is this non-violent offence that eventually builds up to crimes. It is thus necessary to curb such behaviors before they become too much to handle. The only way that this can be done is through rehabilitation and not prison. This is because some of these offenders do not understand the gravity of what they are getting themselves into but are rather lured by their peers to try and too many of them they only do it because they want to look all cool and tough to their peers. They need to be educated on the dangers and the long-term effects of the drug offence. After they have received this knowledge, they should then undergo counseling as a therapy for them and not to be sentenced to jails where they will be initiated into the violence, hey learn in prison and come out worse than they went in. When such people come back to the societies, they feel bitter and in turn, many choose to pay back by recruiting more youths into the drugs cartels not because they want to but because they feel that the world was not fair to them.
The judicial services are not fair in making the judgements. This has further worsened the drug problem. The wealthy end up one year at rehab yet the poor serve sentences in prison for the same crime. The result, therefore, is that both will go back to the offences, the wealthy knowing that the worst that can happen is to go to rehab, yet the poor are hardened further by prison which teaches them that the only way to survive is through violence. This one of the major reasons why the drug syndicates are always looked for in the slum areas when those there are just agents the major drug offenders enjoy wealth and luxury in their cool homes without fear of being arrested. Even when apprehended, they come out free and a vulnerable youth who is helpless, and only in the business to earn a living, pays the price by spending years behind bars. The solution thus is to come up with a standard punishment regardless of the positions held by the offenders in the society.
In conclusion, it is a crystal clear fact that not all drug offenders need to be put behind bars. The punishment should be categorical depending on the role that the individual plays in the car. If the governments really want to eradicate the offences that are brought about by drugs, then it has to put more funds into reviving of rehabilitation centers and even establishing more but not spending the funds on filling the prisons with drug offenders .It is yet another cost of maintaining them, yet it doesnt solve the situation. They will serve their terms in prison go back to the society and further enhance moral decay since that is the only thing they pick from behind the bars.
Downing, Stephen. Nonviolent Drug Offenders should not be taking up Prison Beds. Huff post Politics. Huff post Politics, 4 Jan 2015. Web. 8 Apr. 2016.
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