Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $824,114)
National-level research has established the connection between the use of illicit drugs and criminal activity. This link leads to the repetitive cycle of drug use, crime, and incarceration. The cycle continues to be an ever growing problem within Alabama, and is an escalating burden to Alabama’s families, resources, and economy. Such drug-connected crime, which leads to initial incarceration and subsequent recidivism, is a major factor in prison overcrowding, and the overcrowding aspect then affects the economic factors involved in housing a growing prison population.
The ADOC calculates the recidivism rate for the general inmate population as well as for each crime category. This calculation is based on a 3-year post-release time frame. The most recent available data is for the ADOC’s inmates who were released in Calendar Year 2018. The data indicates that for Calendar Year 2018 the recidivism rate for ADOC inmates who completed the RSAT program was 28.09%.
The underlying causes of addiction are complex. However, addiction is a treatable disease. Given the myriad of causes, Alabama is faced with a large number of addicts who regularly commit criminal activity to satisfy their addictions. Addicts commit crimes at a rate many times greater than non-addicted individuals. Illegal drugs can be readily purchased in any major city, and measures designed at controlling the supply of drugs and punishing traffickers have been less than effective.
In the 2013 annual report published by the Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring II (ADAM II) program, sponsored by the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) since 2007, under the Executive Office of the President, it was reported that 63% to 83% of adult males arrested tested positive for at least one illegal substance. These individuals were interviewed and drug tested by (ONDCP) from five counties from across the United States. This program continues to build on prior data collections from an earlier ADAM project sponsored by the United States Department of Justice (USDOJ) Office of Justice Programs (OJP) National Institute of Justice (NIJ), and the University of Chicago’s National Opinion Research Center (NORC). Arrestees at the five ADAM II sites in 2013 were heavily involved in drugs, as the majority of these arrestees tested positive for at least one of ten substances in their system at the time of arrest. The average percentage of arrestees testing positive ranged from a low of 63% to a high of 83%. Across all five sites, the arrestees’ experience with the criminal justice system prior to their current arrest was common with over 80% reporting at least one arrest prior to their current arrest. For Calendar Year 2009, 78% or more of all arrestees reported at least one arrest prior to their current arrest. Despite the fact a large proportion of the ADAM II arrestees testing positive for illegal drugs, fewer than 30% had ever participated in any kind of outpatient or inpatient drug or alcohol treatment program.
In April 2014, the US Department of Justice published a special report entitled “Recidivism of Prisoners Released in 30 States in 2005: Patterns from 2005 to 2010,” which examined the 5 year post release offending patterns of persons released from state prisons in 2005 from 30 states for five years. The study indicated 67.8% of the released prisoners were arrested for a new crime within 3 years and 76.6% within 5 years. Specifically, 76.9% of drug offenders were arrested for a new crime within 5 years. Considering that approximately 75% of inmates entering the ADOC’s correctional system self-report a history of illicit drug use, the lower recidivism rate for inmates completing the RSAT Program’s activities, compared to the recidivism rate for the overall general prison population, is indicative of the effectiveness of the State’s RSAT 6-month residential treatment program.
According to The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), “Criminal thinking” is a combination of attitudes and beliefs that support a criminal lifestyle and criminal behavior, such as feeling entitled to have things one’s own way, feeling that one’s criminal behavior is justified, failing to accept responsibility for one’s actions, and consistently failing to anticipate or appreciate the consequences of one’s behavior. This pattern of thinking often contributes to drug use and criminal behavior. Treatment that provides specific cognitive skills training to help individuals recognize errors in judgment that lead to drug abuse and criminal behavior may improve outcomes.