By Paul Daquilante • Staff Writer • 

Prison affords Newberg man a chance to address addiction

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Due to the vast increase of incarceration and recidivism rates over the past 30 years, the progression from jail or prison back into society is an area of growing concern both nationally and within the State of Oregon. These concerns have driven the efforts of legislators and policymakers in taking aggressive measures in an attempt to lower crime rates and rehabilitate convicted felons thus allowing them to successfully return to society. Despite these initiatives, recidivism rates continue to soar.

These facts are compounded by the addition of alcohol into the mix, to which ODOC has few, if any, programs that will address this directly. Of course there are Religious Services to draw upon and in most of Oregon's prisons there is an AA group, but to really get help outside of detoxing and self-help while a ward of the State is next to impossible. While the State has saw fit to invest heavily in Drug Court and various programs related to this and local programs like those offered through some local agencies, it has neglected to invest in programs to help address these issues at the State level of incarceration.

For ODOC there must be a demonstrated cost-effectiveness in a program for ODOC to invest in it. While in the 1990s - mid-2000s ODOC they did just this, they then found out that it easier to cut these programs and increase the rate of recidivism to what they considered acceptable levels. This is troubling on two points: first, the State has gotten out of the business of preparing inmates for a successful transition back into society and accepted that there will be those that re-offend; and second, that the industry of corrections is a numbers proposition and ODOC really doea not want to see less inmates because their funding will go down and they will be forced to make cuts. Even in ODOC does the almighty dollar reign.

We can do better....