Democrats Ask Drug Policy Office to Do More to Combat Opioid Epidemic
Twenty Democratic senators are asking the Office of National Drug Control Policy to do more to combat the opioid epidemic, according to the Associated Press.
A pair of new studies from the Justice Policy Institute (JPI) conclude that states can cut prison costs and improve long-term economic productivity by investing in addiction treatment for offenders and improving parole and probation practices.
“There’s no magic formula for saving money and protecting public safety,” said Tracy Velázquez, executive director of JPI. “Rather, policymakers can use the tools we already have and reduce correctional populations through incremental changes based on existing, evidence-based strategies.”
States spend about $5.7 billion annually incarcerating (mostly nonviolent) youth offenders, but most could be safety managed in alternative community settings that would also reduce recidivism by up to 22 percent, according to the JPI report, The Costs of Confinement: Why Good Juvenile Justice Policies Make Good Fiscal Sense.
Investing in alternatives to incarcerating youth can yield up to $13 in benefits for every dollar spent, the study found.
A second report, Pruning Prisons: How Cutting Corrections Can Save Money and Protect Public Safety, finds that investing in addiction treatment for adult offenders could save states $18 for every dollar they spend. Other reform steps recommended by JPI include shifting 10 percent of the prison population into the parole system and adjusting parole support and services so fewer offenders return to prison for parole violations.
JPI’s recommendations included: