An often overlooked part of the penal system is the rate of recidivism. In the event of it being a drug related crime, the rate of recidivism may be reduced with the involvement of a substance abuse treatment regime. The Child Development and Rehabilitation Center (CDRC) reported that when a substance treatment regime is implemented, the recidivism is halved at the one year, two years, and three years mark. The rate was reduced from 38 percent to 10 percent in the first year after release, 47.5 percent to 18.5 percent in the first two years after release, and 49.5 percent to 20.9 percent in the first three years after release.
This issue was previously analyzed in 1999 by Psychologist Harry K. Wexler, Ph.D. He and a team observed 478 prisoners at the R.J. Donovan Correctional Facility located in San Diego. From the sample, 75 percent of the prisoners who did not receive treatment fell at the hands of recidivism, as compared to 27 percent who did receive further treatment for their substance abuse.
This data makes a good case for substance abuse treatment programs for prisoners in prison for drug-related offenses. Hopefully these types of programs will gain in use and popularity as recidivism rates drop and communities become safer.