FEBRUARY 22, 2007
One major state’s billion-dollar investment in drug treatment for prison inmates and parolees has been a complete waste of money that hasn’t come close to meeting its goal of preventing recidivism among substance-abusing criminals.
The brilliant lawmakers in California decided in 1989 to invest more than a billion taxpayer dollars to provide effective substance abuse treatment for the state’s criminals but instead they ended up wasting the money on a lost cause. A scathing 60-page report released by California’s inspector general should infuriate Golden State residents who contributed to the costly failed program.
The report blames poor management for the ongoing problems, both by the state’s Department of Corrections and a special department, called Office of Substance Abuse Programs, established in 1989 to manage the expensive rehab programs. That department spends $143 million a year on the failed substance abuse treatment for inmates and parolees who continue abusing drugs anyways.
Over the years, the sate has spent millions of dollars to finance numerous studies that have documented the failure and waste of the costly substance abuse programs yet the department has continued shelling out millions. One five-year study conducted by the highly regarded University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), found that the recidivism rates for inmates who received in-prison treatment was actually higher than that of the control group.
Regardless of this well-documented failure to treat convicted criminals who abuse drugs, California officials continue the drug treatment programs using taxpayer money.
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