Third-Strikers no more criminally inclined, but 300% more likely to use drugs
Hood River, OR -- (SBWIRE) -- 10/05/2012 -- Data from the California Prison State department has concluded that convicts imprisoned under the “three strikes” law are at higher risk of drug and alcohol dependency.
The study showed that while these convicts were no more likely to be predisposed to “high-risk criminal thinking” than other inmates, their dependency levels were significantly higher.
California compiled psychological, substance abuse, and education profiles on thousands of inmates. The data was analyzed by The Chronicle and California Watch, which revealed a vast majority of three-strike inmates had substance-abuse struggles. This included even the nonviolent criminals. Independent experts could reduce the number of those serving long terms by implementing strong drug rehabilitation programs.
The data is poised to play an important role for those who support and oppose the three-strike law. 2012 has proven to be a year of possible radical changes, as more judges are ordering offenders to county jails instead of state prisons. Voters will be facing a measure that alters the current three strikes law.
The current data has stated one-third of prisoners in California need cognitive therapy to handle criminal tendencies. However, the need for substance abuse is noted as overwhelming amount those serving two- or three-strike sentences.
The large concern with drug rehabilitation is the cost. Promoters of the concept state that by rehabilitation and counseling will lower the risk of inmates re-offending.
Mike Reynolds, who was one of the original supporters of the three-strike law, said most offenders who repeatedly commit serious or violent felonies are not motivated to change. Reynolds also stated that drug use leads to future crimes, and sometimes those crimes are violent.
"The offenders that murdered my daughter were high on methamphetamines, and they had been doing them for God knows how long," Reynolds said. "It was over a simple purse snatching, a low-level felony, something that you'd never put a guy in prison for 25 to life. They murdered her in a New York minute, pulled out a .357 Magnum, put it in her ear, and executed her right on the spot."
The assessment of inmates was obtained through the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation through public record requests. The data consisted of risk scores from 49,000 of the 134,000 incarcerated persons in the state prisons.
Drug addiction among those serving three-strikes sentences were 350% more likely at “high-risk” levels.
In total, 67% of convicts with three strikes need substance abuse treatment, compared to 48% among all inmates. 76% of burglars were noted as high-risk.
Third-strikers had a criminal thinking risk level were statistically similar to other inmates. 30% of all prisoners are considered to have “high risk” patterns of thought.
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