How Many People Are Put in Prison For Non Violent Drug Crimes?
How many people are put in prison for non violent drugs offenses? While the exact number is not known, the general rule is that one in four state prisoners are serving some form of drug sentence. The number of nonviolent offenders in prison is higher, however. Prisons often house a combination of drug offenders, mental health issues, and substance use disorders. This is why so many people in prison are not actually drug offenders.
According to one estimate, nearly two-thirds of the 35,000 inmates in Illinois are returned to the same area where they were arrested. And there is an unemployment rate of over 40 percent among black males in these seven Chicago zip codes. Interestingly, in 1950, the majority of prisoners were white. By 1990, the proportion of non-white inmates had tripled, and nearly all of them were African American or Latino. According to one study, 68 percent of Illinois prisoners are African American and 92 percent of drug offenders in Chicago are African American.
It’s difficult to determine whether incarcerating drug offenders is the most effective solution. In the United States, more than 308,000 people were incarcerated for drug offenses in 2013. While a majority of these prisoners were incarcerated for violent crimes, nonviolent drug offenders only made up 12 percent of the prison population. Drug offenders are often placed in prison when they are merely trying to make money.
The fact that black men constitute the majority of prison inmates is alarming. In seven states, blacks account for 80% of drug offenders. In contrast, whites are only one in four. Clearly, this statistic is racially unfair. In addition, the prison population is not representative of society’s demographics. It’s also highly likely that black people in the US are more likely to be arrested and put in prison for drug offenses than white ones.
The best solution to this problem is to cure the addiction. Drugs are not only dangerous but they also cause many other problems. Drug addiction can have disastrous consequences for both individuals and society. While the majority of prisoners in the U.S. are nonviolent drug offenders, their incarceration rate disproportionately affects minority and low-income communities. Therefore, it is imperative to reduce poverty in order to solve the prison population.
Mass incarceration is caused by multiple factors. Poverty is a huge cause, as is overcriminalization. But these causes do not completely explain the mass incarceration. In addition to poverty, prison time is an economic disaster, decimating a person’s opportunities to get a good job and build a decent life. And even when the incarceration rate is adjusted for poverty, the disparity still exists.
The number of prisons for non-violent drug offenses has steadily increased over time. However, prison time does not seem to reduce drug use, as the research shows that prison sentences do not prevent drug misuse. A recent survey showed that public opinion strongly supports changing drug policy, even though data show that prison terms have no correlation with substance misuse. It is imperative that policymakers make this change to prevent further drug deaths.