The Justice Policy Institute and the Drug Policy Alliance have released reports that show the legal system is a lousy alternative to community intervention to deal with addiction. There are more than 12 times as many people incarcerated in the U.S. for drug offences as in the 1980s. Drug court supporters are quick to offer heart-rending and very real anecdotal success stories that create the illusion something good is happening. I suspect, however, that if, as in the U.S., they were made available, the numbers, recidivism rates, relapse statistics and the extra cost of the legal system would dispel that rosy emotional fog.
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