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date: 26 May 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This essay explores how illegal drugs are linked to imprisonment, especially in the United States. First, the chapter considers statistics that demonstrate how the high U.S. imprisonment rate is driven by the criminalization of substance misuse, despite the high incidence of drug use in the general population. Prison populations that include a mixture of drug users and drug dealers are virtually guaranteed to find ways of bringing drugs into prison, and the demand is increased by the desire to ease the pains of imprisonment. The illicit drug economy in prisons and the associated violence is a threat to the safety of both staff and prisoners. Discussed are ways drugs enter correctional institutions and the methods used to disrupt supply routes. Types of treatment to reduce demand are considered. The complex mix of issues affecting drug use in prisons means that a careful, balanced approach to care and control is needed.

Keywords: drug use, prison populations, pains of imprisonment, prison drug economy, prison drug use

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