Drug Court, Addiction, and Alternatives to Incarceration

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OpenDoors is working to expand the Rhode Island Adult Drug Court, currently a successful program for diverting individuals with addiction issues into treatment. The court already serves approximately 100 individuals a year and results in recidivism rates 61% lower than incarceration. An expanded program could save the state millions of dollars, reduce recidivism, and offer treatment to those that need it. Read more in the report below, Into Treatment Not Prison.
Into Treatment Not Prison (2010)

Released: 2010, (pdf)

Status of Relevant Legislation:pending

In collaboration with Professor Nick Zaller from Miriam Hospital and Brown University, OpenDoors conducted extensive research on substance abuse, addiction, and alternatives to incarceration. The final report, Into Treatment Not Prison, is the culmination of two years of preparation and research, including prison interviews, post-prison follow-ups, focus groups, and analysis of court, prison, and treatment center data.

Expanding Adult Drug Court by the Council on Crime Prevention and the Family Life Center (2007)

Released: April 2007, (pdf)

Status of Relevant Legislation:

Adult Drug Court works. Through its integrated approach to addressing substance abuse and other causes of crime, the Rhode Island Adult Drug Court (ADC) has reduced one-year recidivism rates by half. These findings are consistent with national trends.
The long-term outcomes of the ADC save money and produce increased public safety because chronic substance abusers are treated and effectively removed from future involvement with the criminal justice system. The more that the ADC can target people who would otherwise be headed to prison, the greater the cost-benefit.

Restoring Judicial Discretion by Repealing Rhode Island's Mandatory Minimum Drug Sentences

Released: 2005 (pdf)

Status of Relevant Legislation:

In 1988, when Rhode Island adopted mandatory minimums, the leading thought on drug crime was that if judges “threw the book at anyone implicated in this insidious business, its diminution would become more likely.”1 In this context, long sentences for drug crimes had innate appeal. Since 1988, our prison population has more than doubled (from 1,527 to 3,537 people); we have opened three new prisons and expanded existing facilities three times. In addition to these capital investments, prison expenditures have more than doubled. In 1988, Rhode Island spent $52 million on incarceration; in 2003 we spent over $130 million on incarceration.


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