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NJ Governor calls for “a transformation of the way we deal with drug abuse and incarceration”

Odyssey House President Dr. Peter Provet responds to NJ Governor Chris Christie’s remarks on compulsory treatment for incarcerated drug offenders in his State of the State speech, as reported by the Wall Street Journal.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s position on mandatory treatment for non-violent drug offenders has been called “unusually forgiving.” His emphasis on treatment and rehabilitation is striking, particularly given such a position typically carries little political capital. Governor Christie is to be commended for his compassion and understanding of an issue that pervades entire communities in New Jersey and across the country. But in-prison treatment is only a piece of what is required to address substance abuse. Several states are making inroads in dealing with criminality and substance abuse. In New York, correctional and treatment agencies are working together on a range of programs that target drug abuse inside prison and upon release. Treatment within a prison is a necessary start, but what happens when former inmates go home determines how many lives and how much money are saved. With the overwhelming majority of inmates in need of treatment (85 percent according to national statistics), Governor Christie has hit on an urgent need that starts in prison but must continue into our communities.

Peter Provet, Ph.D.
President and CEO
Odyssey House New York

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