Drug Treatment Reducing Crime Rates

The existing evidence on crime across the United States shows that one of the central roles belongs to illegal drugs and their influence on the increased occurrence of criminal acts. Even though there are numerous other crime-related issues that can be mitigated with the help of drug treatment, the most damage is given to public health (Mitchell & Caudy, 2017). The importance of lowering national crime rates becomes an issue due to the fact that the official government stance suggests that drug treatment is an effective method of dealing with the existing crime rates. The majority of monitoring reports contain evidence regarding the growing number of crimes that are only partially mitigated in the areas where drug treatment is applied. For example, there is a decline in cocaine use that has been tracked for the last 15 years, meaning that drug prohibition efforts involving specific treatment procedures can be considered effective (Jewell et al., 2017). The idea is that the currently decreasing crime rate numbers demonstrate the value that drug treatment brings to the criminal justice system and how it positively affects possible recidivists in the long term.

A Collaborative Approach to Drug Treatments

As the government promotes the value of public education and tries to curtail the prevalence of crimes with the help of therapeutic interventions, the community should also contribute to these efforts. Without a collaborative approach to the need for drug treatments, the US society is not going to reduce the number of arrests and different crimes that could have been prevented otherwise. The strategy that has been proposed by President Obama suggested that all non-violent offenders should be treated and not sent to jail, allowing for breaking the cycle of drugs and drug-induced offenses (Weisburd et al., 2017). Therefore, the issue of implementing drug treatment has to be addressed because it could be the only method of decreasing the crime rate quickly and safely. With the majority of crimes that are committed in the US territory being closely linked to public health, the government should not ignore the possibility of taking non-violent offenders into custody instead of sending them to jail.

The existing data on the subject provided by Andersen (2015) shows that an average of 25% of violent and property offenders could be eligible for drug treatment, meaning that there will be no financial strain put on county jails having to deal with an increased number of inmates. The economic background of this issue also resonates with the value of drug treatment because it could help the criminal justice system prevent overcrowded jails and collaborate with treatment facilities for more positive outcomes. Crimes revolving around illicit substances and property should not be seen as major offenses. Instead, it may be proposed to engage these wrongdoers in drug treatment programs and have them spend time in the rehab. Even though the probable rates of recidivism have not been established yet, the overall outlook on this approach is positive. Offenders would not have to spend time in jail, as there would be a much more viable alternative (James & Smith, 2017). This would not only create more room for improvement in the criminal justice area but also establish a more approachable environment for offenders who would be more likely to participate in drug treatment.

Potential Impact of Drug Treatment on Offenders

The impact of crime rates on society is also evident because many offenders commit crimes because of the lack of access to certain resources. With many felonies being committed under the influence of illicit drugs and alcoholic substances, the society might be interested in communicating with the government and coming up with a joint initiative that would involve proper drug treatment for each non-violent offender (James & Smith, 2017). Illicit substance users might be exposed to an increased chance of recidivism at the beginning of the treatment due to reluctance and escapism. The current statistics suggest that every non-violent crime that has been prevented may also be associated with a reduction in potentially violent crimes. Even though the percentage is somewhat trivial (for every 1% of non-violent crimes, there may be a 0.35% reduction in violent offenses), the future for drug treatment initiative looks promising (Mowen & Visher, 2015). Therefore, the existing literature on the subject supports the thesis statement and shows that as a crime-fighting tool, drug treatment could be rather effective.

Criminal Justice System and Drug Treatment Mechanisms

From the point of criminal justice, the overall contribution of drug treatment methodology might go beyond being a mere society-inducing initiative. The policy emphasizes the negative sides of incarceration and displays a strong inclination toward helping individuals to come back into society and contribute to it by finding a job, for example, which is not available to those offenders who have been to jail (Werb et al., 2016). Evidently, this is more than a societal issue because a decreased occurrence of drug possession would limit the number of potential recidivists and incarcerated individuals. In order to combat crime by drug treatments, the government would have to invest in its policy-making mechanisms and make sure that all stakeholders are on the same page in terms of how the policy could be expanded and what should be the key objectives of it in short- and long-term (Jewell et al., 2017). Hence, this requires an approach that goes beyond societal interests and helps in treating offenders in the most rewarding way possible, especially knowing that drug treatments could be applied both inside and outside jails.

One of the branches of the criminal justice system that is directly linked to the issue of crime rate and drug treatments are drug courts. As one of the exclusive justice mechanisms, these benches have the power to mandate treatment, but the full potential of such powers has not been realized yet. There is only a limited extent to which drug courts may apply their authority, especially when it comes to sending impending detainees to treatment facilities instead of prisons (Wen et al., 2017). Either way, the government is responsible for covering the financial expenses related to treatment, leaving both treatment facilities and offenders at an advantage. Jail experience is much more expensive compared to treatment experience, leaving it up to the criminal justice frontrunners to decide on whether there has to be a specific drug treatment policy or not. With just one year in jail costing approximately $25,000, an overcrowded jail could drain the local budget swiftly, creating even more pitfalls (Weisburd et al., 2017). On the other hand, there is the option of drug treatment that costs approximately $3,000 per annum, making it a much more approachable option for the government.


Within the framework of the current paper, it may be proposed to establish an increased number of treatment facilities across the country that would accept non-violent offenders and prevent the latter from going to jail. The reason for opening new facilities is that the existing ones are only exposed to limited funding and are not maintained effectively, which is going to affect potential detainees negatively, causing the recidivism rates to go up. The new treatment facilities should focus on the issue of substance abuse and interpersonal communication in order to gain the most benefit from the open-mindedness of chosen offenders who decided to collaborate with the government (Werb et al., 2016). Therefore, a further reduction in crime rates would prove the need for more treatment facilities in the regions where the need is the greatest. In other words, all communities where drug-related crimes and other non-violent offenses are rather prevalent should benefit from the establishment of drug treatment facilities. The change that is going to be created by this government initiative may also be accurately aligned against the needs of the state or county and existing resources.

The US Supreme Court still has not made a one-folded decision in regard to the need for additional drug treatment facilities and the effectiveness of placing non-violent offenders into custody. Regardless, the existing resolution is in line with the cultural transmission theory due to the fact that offenders would have the opportunity to learn new values from their renewed community. Nevertheless, in order to see any quantitative changes in the crime rates, the government and policy-makers would have to control and monitor several additional variables, such as the size of law enforcement, unemployment rates, and other independent factors. The theory of cultural transmission may also be positively connected to the proposed solution due to the high rates of recidivism in non-violent offenders (Andersen, 2015). Thus, the application of drug treatments would have a number of advantages linked to both societal and personal functioning (for example, improved intrafamilial relationships). The display of deviance training and predatory acts in prisons contributes to the promotion of principally adverse side effects that would increase the inclination toward recidivism much more than any given drug treatment.

The concepts of social equality and human rights may be effectively approached with the help of new treatment facilities, as latent detainees would be treated as regular individuals who would be able to reintegrate successfully. With the presence of evidence on the effectiveness of drug treatments for crime-for-profit offenses, it may be reasonable to assume that law enforcement agencies and the US correctional system should pay more attention to probable collaboration (Wen et al., 2017). There is enough specific information regarding the benefits of drug treatment that could motivate the government to invest more in education and specialized training sessions promoting content related to the need for drug treatment. The debate on whether treatment or prison sentences would be more beneficial should be discontinued because there are no other cost-effective alternatives to drug treatment. As a crime prevention initiative, the advent of new treatment facilities is also a much more promising investment than additional prison expenditures (Weisburd et al., 2017). Even though there is a risk of exposing non-violent offenders to recidivism, imprisoned offenders are much more of a threat than their counterparts who are released from rehabilitation centers.

Of all the high-risk populations, minority representatives and those affected by poverty may be outlined as most inclined to committing crimes. This means that the new treatment facilities should operate on the basis of algorithms that would protect these vulnerable societal layers from additional damage caused by incarceration. From the psychological point of view, this would also be required to establish a bond between the vulnerable populations and the government, especially in the light of constant altercations that decrease the level of trust in law enforcement officers (Andersen, 2015). Therefore, instead of incarcerating those individuals who have no possibility to defend themselves, the policy-makers should ensure a safe underpass to specialized treatment facilities where these at-risk representatives would have the opportunity to rethink their veracity and realize the negative impact of offenses and further imprisonment on one’s peaceful existence. If the policy aiming to increase the number of treatment facilities across the country is implemented, it will highlight the demand for diplomatic decision-making and immaturity of the existing correctional system.


Even though there are numerous aspects that go beyond the mere application of drug treatments, the increasing incarceration rates signal for the need for unique methods that have not been explored for now. The existing research shows that it may be practically impossible to lead a detailed comparison between how incarceration affects non-violent offenders versus drug treatment. Regardless, the latter is one of the most flexible criminal justice interventions known to policy-makers owing to the presence of empirical findings that support the implementation of additional treatment facilities. The future policies on drug treatment should carefully outline the requirements for such governmental services, especially given the increasingly high number of financially-motivated crimes that are committed by vulnerable populations. Violent behaviors displayed by non-violent offenders are often the consequence of improper living conditions and addiction. Every new treatment facility would decrease prison maintenance costs and create room for a much more adequate budget allocation.


Andersen, D. (2015). Stories of change in drug treatment: A narrative analysis of ‘whats’ and ‘hows’ in institutional storytelling. Sociology of Health & Illness, 37(5), 668-682.

James, A., & Smith, B. (2017). There will be blood: Crime rates in shale-rich US counties. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 84, 125-152.

Jewell, J. D., Rose, P., Bush, R., & Bartz, K. (2017). The long term effectiveness of drug treatment court on reducing recidivism and predictors of voluntary withdrawal. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 15(1), 28-39.

Mitchell, O., & Caudy, M. S. (2017). Race differences in drug offending and drug distribution arrests. Crime & Delinquency, 63(2), 91-112.

Mowen, T. J., & Visher, C. A. (2015). Drug use and crime after incarceration: The role of family support and family conflict. Justice Quarterly, 32(2), 337-359.

Weisburd, D., Farrington, D. P., & Gill, C. (2017). What works in crime prevention and rehabilitation: An assessment of systematic reviews. Criminology & Public Policy, 16(2), 415-449.

Wen, H., Hockenberry, J. M., & Cummings, J. R. (2017). The effect of Medicaid expansion on crime reduction: Evidence from HIFA-waiver expansions. Journal of Public Economics, 154, 67-94.

Werb, D., Kamarulzaman, A., Meacham, M. C., Rafful, C., Fischer, B., Strathdee, S. A., & Wood, E. (2016). The effectiveness of compulsory drug treatment: A systematic review. International Journal of Drug Policy, 28, 1-9.

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