Tuesday, 20th April 2010
Jailing reformed addicts
Robert Callus, Alternattiva Demokratika Żgħażagħ, Mosta
On a regular basis we read of cases where drug addicts get prison sentences for crimes committed four or more years before being found guilty. Some of these have in the meantime rehabilitated themselves and are able to prove it.
Though many times the sentence is of less than a year imprisonment, this is still unjust and the only thing it achieves is to disrupt the life the rehabilitated addict has managed to rebuild.
Prison in this situation invades the person’s life and the new relationships he has managed to build, which many times also includes his job.
Apart from that, it is now in the open that drugs manage to enter prison, and how! In fact we have been approached by people who are more afraid of the drugs they find inside than prison itself. This goes completely against what they learn in rehab programmes, that in order to remain clean they should avoid people and places that are related to drug abuse.
Alternattiva Demokratika Żgħażagħ suggests that depending on individual circumstances, these people are either pardoned (with certain conditions if necessary) for the crimes they had committed as a result of their addiction or are given a substitute punishment such as community work.
Such measures are not only fair to drug addicts and their families, but are also beneficial for the rest of society, which is more interested in having people who can give a positive contribution than making sure that everyone pays the pound of flesh.