Treatment Over Incarceration for Drug Offenders

Louisiana May Learn from New Jersey

Complete story by Matt Friedman (NJ.com)

In a bold move to create a lasting legacy, New Jersey governor, Chris Christie (R), outlined details of his program that would make mandatory drug treatment the path for non-violent drug offenders. The proposed bill has the backing of an apparent majority of the New Jersey legislature to create a path that would dramatically modify laws and the philosophy of the State seen to be a leader in progressive incarceration.

The evolving bill and public sentiment will be closely scrutinized by other states seeking to improve the criminal justice system as well as bridge the budget gap in widening incarceration requirements of existing laws.

Louisiana has the highest per capita incarceration rate in the nation, which is number one in the world for locking up its citizens. There may be grist for the mill of public opinion in the Pelican State! (See Complete Story)

 

Note: Bills in this movement have languished in committees of the Louisiana Legislature for years. When you study the statistics of costs of incarceration and the rate of incarceration for drug crimes in Louisiana, there is a direct relationship between sentencing for non-violent drug crimes and the rate of rise in the cost of running the penal system. There has been little effort made to study that changes in sentencing have made in repeat offenders for non-violent drug crimes that were “victimless.”

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