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Proposition 36 the Substance Abuse Crime Prevention Act was passed and rightly so because first and second time drug offenders should receive the therapeutic treatment they need After the sentence most of the offenders come out of jail worse than when they went into jail Drug addicts and alcoholics after receiving proper therapeutic treatment can and do become productive contributing members of society Many drug addicts that are first and second time offenders are young and inexperienced When they are put into jail the addicts are put in with hardened criminals whose life long occupations have been criminal activities with violent outcomes These old timers are more than happy to teach these young convicts their tricks many times they want these youngsters to come right back to prison to keep them company According to Robert Sharp Program Officer of the Lindsmith center Drug Policy Foundation Washington DC Putting Americans with substance abuse problems behind bars is a dangerous practice Research published in American Psychologist shows about one-fourth of those initially imprisoned for non-violent crimes are sentenced a second time for committing a violent offense Whatever else it reflects this pattern highlights the possibility that prison serves to transmit violent habits and values rather than to reduce them The US is making a big mistake by criminalizing substance abuse Imagine if every alcoholic in America were denied treatment due to lack of funds Take it one step further Imagine if every alcoholic was thrown in jail and given a permanent record How many lives would be destroyed How many families torn apart how many tax dollars would be wasted turning potentially productive members of society into hardened criminals It is time to rethink the failed drug war The growing numbers of Americans who favor Public Health Approaches are looking to California to lead the way The public health approach will treat drug addiction like the disease that it is Unlike the way that
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