Federal Appeals Judge: More Rehab, Less Jail for Drug Offenders
8th Circuit Senior Judge Donald Lay has an op-ed in the New York Times today, Rehab Justice. He argues for federal drug courts, like those in the state system. We need more Judges--and most importantly, Congress--to adapt Judge Lay's reasoning:
Unlike the states, the federal criminal justice system offers no alternatives for nonviolent offenders charged with drug-related crimes. In the federal system, it is almost a certainty that a convicted drug offender will be incarcerated rather than going through a community-based treatment program. It is little wonder then that the federal prison system will continue to be overburdened. Given the success of drug courts in the states, the federal government should study how to modify its sentencing to incorporate elements of the drug court model and to assess the effectiveness of community-based alternatives to imprisonment for nonviolent federal drug felons.
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