Meth Prisons Aim to Fix Recidivism Problem
> 4/21/2006 12:10:12 PM

Newsweek reported this week on a new trend in corrections that has me cautiously optimistic for the first time in a while about the fight against methamphetamine. The concept is to build small prisons geared specifically toward criminals who are addicted to methamphetamine. Newsweek explains the goals:

By placing meth users in intensive treatment programs and isolating them from convicts who can teach them new criminal skills (like check forging), state officials hope to reduce high recidivism rates among addicts. "Just being in jail isn't going to fix this," says Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer. "Jail doesn't get the demons out."

The meth prisons are aimed not just at drug dealers and manufacturers, but also at those who commit crimes, like robberies, to feed their addictions... Treatment will include group counseling, individual therapy and seminars on work, family and life skills. In Montana, family visits won't be permitted until inmates are deemed ready. Upon their release, case managers will monitor parolees to ensure that they continue to attend treatment programs.

As mentioned, Montana has been a mover and a shaker in this new initiative, as we discussed previously, the Big Sky state has one of the worst meth problems in the country. While their program will be mandated by judges on a case by case basis, in Illinois, where Gov. Blagojevich has made meth prisons a central piece of his corrections policy, the program will be elective for some offenders.

In many ways, this program's goals mirror those of the Council of State Governments' Criminal Justice/Mental Health Concensus Project. The Consensus Project arose out of a desire to improve criminal justice and its approach to those with mental health issues. Caring for a sick individual is often enough to get them away from crime and into a situation where they can become productive members of society.

Meth prisons seem to be a big step in the right direction. Taking those with an addiction to methamphetamine out of the general prison population prevents them from learning new tricks from more experienced criminals, and in many cases, keeps them away from the drugs that put them there in the first place. The fact that treatment is incorporated into the corrections program makes these types of prisons even more effective. This meth problem isn't going to disappear, but by learning to fight it more effectively, we can make strides to stem the tide of addiction that is sweeping across the U.S.


Why isn't neurofeedback employed more in correctional systems? There's been plenty of studies on its tremendous effect on reducing recidivism rates (see's behavioral problems area).
Posted by: Daniel 4/22/2006 2:11:10 AM

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