Substance Abuse Inside the Prison Wall's Controlling Illegal Drugs in Prison Term Paper

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Substance Abuse Inside the Prison Walls: Controlling Illegal Drugs in Prison

It is most often within the prison milieu that dependence and an addiction to drugs and other substances takes place. This is attributed to the various stress factors that an individual within the four walls of the prison is generally subjected to, and studies have shown that the risk of a person developing substance dependence, and an over representation of the number of people with a drug problem increases significantly within the prison. (Drug Prevention Outside and Inside Prison Walls)

In a report complied by CBC New Online Staff, on April 8, 2004, entitled 'Disease rates higher in Canadian inmates' stated that prison inmates are more likely than other citizens to suffer form a variety of physical as well as mental problems, contract any type of infectious diseases, and also die more prematurely than others. Furthermore, the Report stated that the government Department lacks a basic and an overall plan by which the prevention and the treatment and the control of the spread of diseases or the like can be achieved within the prison walls. Therefore, it can be said that public health services are horribly lacking within the prison. According to the statistics recorded in the Report, on an average, prison inmates are generally younger than the rest of the population when taken as a whole, but more pointedly, male prisoners would be more likely to be treated for diabetes and for heart conditions, and are also twice as likely as outsiders to start smoking, and ten times as likely as outsiders to take up alcohol and/or drugs. (Report Highlights Health Concerns inside Prisons)

Today, the United States of America has more than 1.8 million people behind bars: about 100,000 are in federal custody, 1.1 million in state custody, and 600,000 are in local jails. These are people who have been convicted of federal and state crimes, and it is a fact that the United States actually imprisons more people than any other country in the entire world, even more than Communist China, and this is said to be a relatively recent phenomenon, and the rate of the number of people being imprisoned today is 445 per 100,000, and among adult men it is about 1,100 per 100,000, and these rates are increasing everyday, and during the past two decades alone, more than a thousand jails have been built, but to no avail, because the inmate population in America continues to enhance by 50,000 to a 80,000 people every year. (The Prison Industrial Complex)

Most of the inmates of the prison, even though they have committed various crimes, are more often than not the poor, the homeless, the mentally impaired, and the drug dealers, substance abusers, alcoholics, and also a wide range of sociopaths, of every kind imaginable. More than seventy percentage of the prison population is illiterate, and it must be noted that a few decades ago, such people were handled by the mental health system and not by the criminal justice system. More than a 60 to 80% of the American inmate population has some sort of history of substance abuse, while at the same time; the number of drug treatment slots has been decreasing by about a fifty percentage from 1993, and what this means is that drug treatment is available only to one out of the ten who may need it. (The Prison Industrial Complex)

Richard Carlson, who had been incinerated in the East Block of Kingston Penitentiary, Canada, has talked extensively of the treatment he had to undergo when he was an inmate of the prison, what he says is that he had lost his mental balance at a certain point of time, and he had slashed his neck and other parts of his body in self attempts at mutilation. However, what he suffered later at the physiatric unit of the Kingston Pen was infinitely more horrific, according to Richard. There, he states, he was given more than twenty different types of drugs, including a 'truth serum', which would induce hallucinations. This inmate wished to point out the fact that he had actually been used as a guinea pig for the experimentation that was being conducted within the four walls of the unit, and that he was a mere pawn for researchers. This is, therefore, another aspect of prison life where the hapless prisoner is forced to endure experimentation with drugs that are conducted against his will, or even his knowledge, within the prison walls. (Prisoner Experiments Haunt Inmates)

The usage of alcohol and drugs is today one of the major and most important issues facing the world. Drug abuse is in fact one of the single most important factors that affect the lives of prisoners, and more than two thirds of prisoners get into the habit when they are incarcerated for any reason. (Legal Systems, Prisons: Victorian Prison Drug Strategy) The Northern Ireland Prison service has as its primary aim the holding in secure and in a humane manner those individuals who have been given into custody by the Courts, and to avert and reduce the risk of these individuals committing the same or similar crimes again by encouraging them to take full advantage of the various opportunities and chances that they are usually given during the time of their confinement within the prison. However, despite these declarations, almost all prisons have seen a rise in the misuse of drugs and an increase in drug related crimes being committed within the prison walls, in prison, and this has risen almost at par with the outside world and society. (Drugs Policy and Strategy, Northern Ireland Prison Service)

It can be stated that the misuse and abuse of drugs and other substances can very well undermine discipline and control for all the inmates of the prison, and this means that the prison service, in this case the Northern Ireland Prison Service must consider all these factors and aim at prevention of this phenomenon, with especial regard to drugs. In fact, it must be said that if the prisoners, while they were under confinement in prisons, were given the proper and timely and the right treatment, then this would mean that they would be able to lead much better and more productive lives when they have finished their sentences and are released into the outside world. The Prison Service has, therefore, adapted the definition of 'drug abuse' as being something that means the 'non-medical use of drugs that are only used for the purpose of medical treatment, and the usage of drugs that have no accepted medical purpose', according to the 'Drug Misuse in Northern Ireland: A Policy Statement: 22 December 1995'.

This report however does not include alcohol abuse and other substances abuse, but it is true that the Prison service recognizes the fact that these too would be injurious to health and can in fact lead the user to re-offend. These are the principles that were adopted by the Northern Ireland Prison service, and the point is that they were attempting to develop an effective strategy that would combat the drug problem and menace within the prison walls. They are: the misuse of drugs within prison walls will not be tolerated; all prisoners would be encouraged to adopt a more responsible attitude towards drugs, and they would also be taught and encouraged to continue with the same attitude even when they are released, and this would be achieved through education and counseling. If it was discovered that any individual or inmate is addicted to drugs of any kind, then appropriate treatment would be given to that person, in much the same way that a drug abuser in the outside world would be treated, and he would be offered care as well as acceptance so that he may complete his treatment for drug abuse in an effective manner. (Drugs Policy and Strategy, Northern Ireland Prison Service)

The strategy however, that has been formulated by the Northern Ireland Prison service involves the identification of the four important and primary key action areas of control and care and education and information. In addition, it was decided that all parts of the Service would work with other agencies that generally worked in the prison environment and in the community. Therefore, the Service implemented several action plans, according to which all governing Governors would be obliged to implement those plans in the best way possible, so that the entire network would be involved, and each governor would therefore have to outline a strategy that would set out the way in which that plan would be implemented within their prison. In order to ensure that all relevant information is conveyed to all establishments in a proper manner so that the implementation of the strategy would be better, certain information must be given by each prison to the Headquarters, every quarter. This will be statistics on the number of drugs, or the weight of drugs that was found, the number…

Sources Used in Document:

Works Cited

Blanchfield, Mike; Bronskill, Jim. (October 13, 1998) "Prisoner Experiments Haunt

Inmates" Retrieved From

Accessed on 15 August, 2005

"Drugs Policy and Strategy, Northern Ireland Prison Service" Retrieved From

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