Second chances

Coryl - Duluth, Minnesota
Entered on April 21, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: addiction

I believe the justice system is taking the wrong approach of dealing with people who have drug addictions. I have seen many people I know end up in prison because of drug charges. I think that a lot of these friends, like me, are good people and deserve another kind of punishment. Over 1.6 million Americans are in prison for drug related crimes, most of them being non-violent criminals. It is also a fact that since prisoners do not receive the appropriate drug treatment while incarcerated, a majority of them are likely to relapse upon being released. The government should end “the war on drugs” because it is irrational, and ineffective. History has already taught us that prohibition just doesn’t work. No matter how many people we lock up for drugs, their will always be more to replace them. So we should no longer waste our money and resources in a war that targets our own citizens, and instead come up with a more sensible drug policy.

When I was in high school it was not uncommon for teens to drink or experiment with drugs; it was just a way to have fun. No one ever got hurt, or in trouble, nothing bad ever happened to any of us. This lifestyle carried on with many of us into our adulthood; it had never even occurred to any of us that we had a problem. It was April 20th 2006; on my birthday was when I first found out that a couple of my friends had been indicted and charged with “conspiracy to possess, and distribute methamphetamine.” Within a year almost a dozen more people I considered friends, including my boyfriend of four years had also been indicted. It seemed so unfair, because they were all good people who had made some bad choices in life. Besides, none of them had ever caused any trouble or have even been caught in possession of any drugs. If they were selling them, it was to support their own drug habit. But even so, they all ended up indicted, and are going to be serving sentences in federal prisons for the next 5-20 years. Of course this was more than a wake-up call for me and for anyone else that was left in our group of friends. Through the help of treatment or on our own, we sobered up, and drastically began to change the way we were living our lives. Meanwhile, our friends who were indicted would never get that chance. I believe that they are all good people who do not deserve to be in prison, and should’ve been given a chance to be treated for their addictions.

I think that most people know someone such as a friend or family member that is in some way affected by addiction. In our society we recognize that alcoholism is a disease, and it can be overcome with treatment. So how can we justify treating other Americans that are dealing with other drug addictions so unfairly? Most people would be surprised to learn that a majority of prisoners serving time for drug related charges, actually end up serving more time than the average sex offender. I think we should all recognize these drastic differences and start making some changes on our unjust policies. Rather than incarcerating Americans for being drug addicts, we should try another approach such as treatment.