If you take a quick look at the United States Prison System, one of the first things you’ll notice is just how many people are currently locked away in this country. The next thing you’ll notice is that the vast majority of the people who are locked up are prisoners as a result of a drug crime.
At the same time, most modern medical texts refer to addictions of any kind, including drug addictions, as a medical disease. This leads to the logical question of whether the drugs laws of the United States are unfairly punishing people who are simply suffering from a disease. A quick look at the facts seems to indicate that this is the case.
In recent years, as part of a so-called War on Drugs, the United States Justice System has been implementing what it calls mandatory sentencing as part of its efforts to curb drug use. In this system, people who are convicted of drug use are forced into rigid prison sentences without regard to any context. The purpose of this plan is to convince potential drug users that drug use is not worth the punishments.
This system has been decried not only by medical professionals and legal activists but also by the judges themselves. They claim that mandatory sentencing forbids them the ability to actually use their own judgement in terms of whether or not people are being malicious or not.
Punishment Rather Than Rehabilitation
You don’t have to look hard to find plenty of medical evidence that drug addictions are a medical condition rather than any kind of malicious act by the users. The main way that we treat all other medical conditions is to provide care and rehabilitation to those who suffer from it. Only in drug cases are medical sufferers forced to go to prison for their diseases.
Another punitive measure levelled against drug addicts is the three-strike law, which makes it so that a drug user who is convicted of certain drug offenses three times will have to face certain mandatory punishments. This tends to harm drug addicts, as escaping the throes of a drug addiction can often involve multiple setbacks. When punishment takes the place of actual treatment, the odds of being killed by a drug addiction increase by a lot.
How Drug Lawyers Can Help
Those who have been arrested for some kind of drug offense can often feel like their life has come to an end. The potential for receiving a mandatory sentence can make them feel as if they have no options. However, by hiring a drug attorney to help out in developing a defense, it’s possible for people who are suffering from addiction to escape their sentencing.
A good attorney will be able to get a settlement with the criminal system outside of the court system, which allows the plaintiff to avoid having to face these kinds of terrible sentences. Instead, the lawyer can have the judge direct the drug addict to a rehab program where he can actually get the kind of treatment that he needs.
The only way it will be possible to improve the state of the American justice system will be if the lawmakers are able to implement new laws that provide treatment options for convicted drug users. Until then, the work of drug lawyers will have to suffice in protecting and helping addicts.
About the author:
Krasner, Hughes, & Long are a drug defense team from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. To learn more about them, connect with them on LinkedIn!