People in Florida convicted of drug crimes often face stiff penalties. Part of their punishment usually includes time behind bars. However, is that really the best place for them?
More than 2 million people are currently serving time behind bars. About half of those serving time in a federal prison are there for drug-related crimes. The United States has the highest incarceration rate compared to every other country in the world. However, that wasn’t always the case. Incarcerations fordrug crimes increased significantly after President Richard Nixon declared a war on drugs in the early 70’s.
A study by an Ohio University sociologist shows that incarceration may increase a person’s chances of succeeding in illegal activity after they are released. In fact, a person could earn about $6,000 more each year through criminal activity after they have served time behind bars.
In addition to being around other people who have engaged in criminal activity, someone with a criminal record who has served time in prison often doesn’t have the necessary skills to obtain a good paying job. Employers are also reluctant to hire someone with a criminal past.
Instead of putting more people behind bars, some question whether it would be beneficial to enforce strict probation. A person could then gain skills to further themselves. In addition, it would create connections to people outside of the criminal world.
Unfortunately, prosecutors and law enforcement in Florida and beyond are often eager to punish those convicted of drug crimes to the fullest extent. A defense strategy for those currently facing drug charges could be a push for less severe penalties and a stronger focus on rehabilitation.
Source: CNBC, “Flush With Crime: Study Shows Prison a Career Boost,” Jeanine Ibrahim, March 7, 2013