There have been many studies to show how substance abuse treatment helps society in multiple ways, including reducing crime. A new study in the UK that was recently published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research shows just that. Researchers were able to prove that inmates who exhibited signs of an alcohol problem were better off after having completed an alcohol addiction program while in jail. The research sheds more light on the link between addiction and crime as well as providing more evidence that treatment is beneficial, no matter what the setting. In fact, the male inmates who had not received treatment were two and a half times more likely to be convicted of another offense within the next year.
“Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has been one of the most common methods to reduce alcohol use, and the judicial systems in the United Kingdom and the United States have specifically identified CBT alcohol treatment programs as the chief method to break the link between alcohol and crime,” explained researchers.
The team at Plymouth University in the United Kingdom poured over records from inmates who were sentenced to jail for alcohol-related offenses. All inmates were assigned certain treatment modalities and one group was not assigned any treatment. Data from the study shows that the group of inmates that were assigned to cognitive behavioral therapy fared the best out of jail and were less likely to continue committing crimes than the other groups.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a type of treatment method that focuses on changing the negative ways that people act out and getting rid of unwanted or dangerous behaviors. By working with inmates that have alcohol or other substance abuse problems, government officials could effectively begin to reduce the amount of repeat offenders in the legal system. Researchers of the study also noted that the cost of sending someone to alcohol treatment is significantly money than sending someone to prison for a year.
In addition to the monetary benefits of focusing on alcohol treatment for those that fit the criteria, treatment is a more humane solution for many people. Those who can overcome their addictions are better able to provide for the community and their own families.