Overcrowded Prisons, Send Them to Rehab

by Danielle Cotterman on June 24, 2011 at 5:33 am

Overcrowded prisons…It’s a hot button issue in many states, including here in Ohio….and now there’s something being done about it….but is it the right move?

In efforts to reduce inmate population, the Ohio Legislature passed a Bill on Thursday, allowing non-violent offenders to opt out of jail time and opt in to rehab programs . Muskingum Behavioral Health Executive Director, Steve Carrel, said, although it’s a good idea, the majority of offenders released have no way of paying for the services.

"Somewhere, somehow the state of Ohio is going to have to get serious about addiction and mental illness treatment," said Carrel. "We’ve got under funded systems trying to band-aid a chronic illness."

Carrel said, a decent revenue is crucial because those that need the help are not a quick and simple fix. He said, the problems they face today are more severe than in years passed due to a poor economy.

"It’s not just somebody walking in who is smoking pot heavily or, you know, an alcoholic," said Carrel. "It’s a person who is walking in with alcoholism and major depression, who doesn’t have a job, whose wife has kicked him out because she’s tired of his stuff ."

Carrel believes their is hope for people in bad situations, and understands that 95 % of his clients don’t want to be there, but he said, on the contrary, you don’t have to want help to get help.