(BCNN) Mental health experts from Meharry Medical College School of Medicine have released the first comprehensive report on the correlation between the incarceration of African American males and substance abuse and other health problems in the United States. Published in Frontiers in Psychology on the 12th of November, the report looks at decades of data concerning the African American population rates of incarceration and subsequent health issues. The authors conclude that the moral and economic costs of current racial disparities in the judicial system are fundamentally avoidable, especially if more resources are spent on education and treatment.
Money would be better spent on treatment than on incarceration
The study highlights the fact that with regard to African American males in the prison system, individual States are paying more to lock up non-violent offenders than they are for education, since 60% of incarcerations are due to non-violent, illicit drug-related crimes. The authors also point to a previous study from 2,000 showing that the total cost of substance abuse--be it incarceration, crime or treatment--is over $500 billion per year for the US.
These and other statistics have led the authors--scientific experts often called upon to testify in court--to conclude in the paper that: "Spending money on prevention and intervention of substance abuse treatment programs will yield better results than spending on correctional facilities." (More)
Source: Science Codex
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