In Washington, D.C., the federal government and their local government enforcers would never dream of allowing large numbers of prisoners out of prison just because they didn't have enough money or space to humanely care for them. Instead, they just pack them into a giant run-down prison, or ship them hundreds or thousands of miles away, for hundreds of millions of dollars over the years.
So, they move heaven and earth to get enough prison cells � but no one does anything about there being drug treatment for only 10% of drug addicts in the city, according to the Washington Post. The city's annual drug treatment budget has been cut by more than 37% in the past five years. And since 1996, federal funding for D.C. drug programs has been cut more than 50%, leading to combined losses of treatment for 890 outpatients, 820 methadone patients, 70 detoxification beds and 220 residential treatment beds.
Not only are people with serious problems going without treatment, many prisoners are not being released because their parole conditions require entering a drug treatment program; other untreated addicts end up having their parole revoked when they are suspected of drug use after their release.(3)
The approach of a drug treatment center is miserably limited in the first place, because they don't do anything about organizing to end the oppression and alienation and availability of harmful drugs that all lie behind the problem. Then, they don't even seriously pursue this incredibly weak approach to a large social problem � while they'll do anything to keep up the number of prison cells.
There are good people working on helping people with drug problems, and they are aware of the inadequacy of this approach. We urge them to get involved in a revolutionary movement to uproot the underlying causes of these and other problems.
3. Washington Post, August 25, 1998. p. A1.
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