Addiction and Mental Illness
There are always multiple ways to view a situation like the one that happened in Albuquerque recently when police targeted the homeless and the mentally ill in a reverse drug sting.
On the one hand, there were more then likely events that led to them deciding to target this area where these people lived. In other words, litigating circumstances such as an increased criminal activity in that area where these unfortunate souls lived. Another possibility is that in order to get these people some help, they short cut the social system in order to get them into the legal system which at times provides opportunities of recovery.
Many however do not believe that this was the case, and in a show of admonition, Mayor Richard Berry spoke out against these practices. Other also spoke out.
“This amounts,” he said, “to a criminalization of drug addiction, homelessness and mental illness. Reverse sting operations targeting the most vulnerable are especially alarming, considering that people experiencing homelessness have been disproportionately affected by APD’s excessive use of force in Albuquerque.”
Deputy Police Chief Eric Garcia suggested to city councilors in a meeting on May 16 that APD plans “to focus more on people who are not necessarily the homeless” when it carries out similar undercover operations. Read more…
It’s stories like this that help you understand why the United States is the most incarcerated nation in the world, where locking people up for anything is big business, and getting the help is simply a under thought.
In October 2013, the incarceration rate of the United States of America was the highest in the world, at 716 per 100,000 of the national population. While the United States represents about 4.4 percent of the world’s population, it houses around 22 percent of the world’s prisoners. Corrections (which includes prisons, jails, probation, and parole) cost around $74 billion in 2007 according to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics. Read More…
Getting Treatment for Drugs vs Incarceration
It’s an often echoed statement in the corrections industry that law enforcement should have more important things to do then harass people for minor, non violent offenses. While this is often a type of “crutch” statement where a person is avoiding looking at their part in the situation, it seems that in this circumstance, it is a true statement. Homelessness and addiction are often knit together. Instead of arresting them and throwing away the key, why not help these people find a treatment center or drug rehabs, along with training on how to function as a productive member of society. This is after all what the vast majority of people want.
Related Article: Sting Operations According to Crime Targeted