Intro: From Harvard Elite to Hawaii’s Streets–intellectually witty posts about addiction, adult services, and related matters in paradise at the turn of the 21st century
No, we should not be locking people up for being addicted. When society does this the addict can never get out from under a criminal record, no matter how much progress she has made, unless she has gained sufficient wealth and influence to secure a pardon from the state governor. It costs money to apply for a pardon and lawyers don’t work for free. Just another example of how wealth determines if you are deemed a criminal or not, instead of behavior. When a behavior is designated as a crime the criminal justice system comes in to judge the behavior and the person and the whole situation is opened up to an endless amount of unfairness and injustice. But that is not really the problem that I am thinking of. My concern is that I do not believe addiction is a crime. The experience of addiction is clearly the experience of an illness of a desperate horrible illness from which there appears to be no escape we are in its clutches. Why are attics able to stop sometimes and not other times? Upon closer examination of different types of addictions, it appears to this observer that people are not able to stop their behavior so much as they are forcibly separated from their behaviors. So although we don’t want to lock people up because their attic‘s, the locking up part almost seems to be an essential part of getting people started on the road to recovery. Would Alex be willing to allow themselves to be locked up instead of going to prison? I think they would. Essentially, that is what treatment is. Treatment is locking people away from the drug of choice. Treatment, for any compulsion , centers on having people around to keep you on the narrow path. The criminal justice system will give an addict one chance to have the record expunged if they make no mistakes at all after they are arrested. But has anyone familiar with addiction knows Recovery is two steps forward one step backwards. Their frequent relapses. Having one chance is something that very few people will be able to take it vantage of. That is not to say I am ungrateful to the criminal justice system for offering a chance to have a record expunged. I am just saying that it will take more than that. What if there could be a system of somehow restrain people, even forcibly, but not giving them a criminal record?As often as it takes?