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Drug and alcohol treatment in prison will save billions of dollars and significantly reduce crime according to a 281-page report by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse CASA at Columbia University released on January 8 The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse Columbia University Behind Bars Substance Abuse and Americas Prison Population January 1998 Christopher Wren Alcohol or Drug Link Seen in 80 of Jailings New York Times January 9 1998 p A11 Ronald J Ostrow Drugs Alcohol Linked to 80 of Those Behind Bars Los Angeles Times Washington Edition January 9 1998 p A5 Darlene Superville Drugs alcohol cited for 80 of inmates Philadelphia Inquirer January 9 1998 p A6 Behind Bars Substance Abuse and Americas Prison Population says that the huge increase in Americas prison population is due overwhelmingly to crimes related to drug and alcohol abuse Between 1980 and 1996 the number of inmates in state federal and local prisons tripled from 500000 to 17 million The study says that drug and alcohol abuse and addiction are implicated in the incarceration of 80 14 million of the 17 million men and women currently behind bars including parents of 24 million children This 80 represents those who violated drug or alcohol laws were intoxicated at the time they committed their crimes stole property to buy drugs or are regular drug users Currently 1 of every 144 American adults 1 out of every 60 men 1 out of every 14 black men and 1 out of every 34 Hispanic men is incarcerated for an alcohol- or drug-related crime In a foreword Joseph A Califano Jr CASA president and former Sec of Health Education and Welfare under President Carter said Failure to use the criminal justice system to get nonviolent drug- and alcohol-abusing offenders into treatment and training is irrational public policy and a profligate use of public funds Releasing drug-addicted inmates without treatment helps maintain the market for illegal drugs
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