State Lawmakers Look to Drug Courts to Control Prison Population

By Staff Writer

In an effort to reduce the number of nonviolent drug offenders who have been incarcerated and bring down the cost of housing them, many state lawmakers are proposing drug rehab programs for those who struggle with opiate addiction and other chemical dependencies.

The idea behind these proposals is to allow offenders to seek substance abuse help. Doing so may reduce recidivism rates, which could save taxpayers money in criminal trials and eliminate the costs associated with overcrowded prisons.

New Jersey state senator Raymond Lesniak has proposed that lawmakers in his state create a drug treatment program for individuals with chemical addiction, according to the New Jersey Star.

While his proposal will cost $40 million up front, Lesniak says that it will reduce the cost of prosecuting drug offenders and give these individuals the tools they need to stay drug-free after their conviction.

“It’s time to start winning the war on drugs,” he told the news source.

Drug offenders accounted for more than 21 percent of the total prison population, according to the Office of National Drug Control Policy.