Reasons to Seek Alternatives to Incarceration

"In responding to the problem of drug use, many countries have introduced severe penalties for drug use and related crime, which have resulted in large numbers of people in prisons, compulsory treatment centres, or labour camps without significant long term impact on drug use, drug dependence or drug-related crime in the community and are in contradiction with human rights. At the same time, the long term incarceration of a large number of people who use drugs is expensive. It also results in high risk for the transmission of HIV, hepatitis, and TB, both in closed settings and beyond, that represents a significant public health risk to the community. Many countries are consequently looking for alternatives to incarceration for drug use and related crime."


"From coercion to cohesion: Treating drug dependence through health care, not punishment," United Office on Drugs and Crime (Vienna, Austria: October 28-30, 2009), p. 9.