The United States might be the third most populous country, but it has the highest population of prisoners in the world. Ironically, a large portion of those prisoners is that of drug offenders who actually need a rehab term rather than a prison term. It is thus a major reason behind the overcrowding of American jails. The problem got highlighted once again when reality TV star Kim Kardashian called on President Donald Trump recently over a related matter.
In a series of tweets, Kardashian expressed her gratitude and satisfaction after the visit to the White House on May 30, 2018. She sought pardon for Marie Johnson, a 63-year-old great-grandmother who is serving life sentence for non-violent drug offense, from President Trump. She said she was “hopeful” that Johnson will soon get a second chance to live without confinement.
“I would like to thank President Trump for his time this afternoon. We are optimistic about Ms. Johnson’s future and hopeful that she — and so many like her — will get a second chance at life,” tweeted Kardashian.
Johnson has been behind bars for more than two decades. She is not eligible for parole. Her plight was recently highlighted on social media, which caught the attention of the fashion mogul. Moved by Johnson’s story, Kardashian said that she was in communication with the White House to bring the matter under everybody’s notice. In her efforts, the 37-year-old socialite was reportedly in talks with Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner who is a senior adviser and spearheads the administration’s prison reform efforts.
Kardashian decided to fight for Johnson, after Trump announced harsher punishments, including death penalties for people convicted in drug-related cases. Apart from Johnson, Kardashian also highlighted the case of 30-year-old Cyntoia Brown, who was arrested in 2004 for killing a man when she was 16. Though Brown was sentenced to life in prison, many argue that the murder was a reflex of being a victim of sex trafficking.
The big picture of incarceration in US
As per the data with Prison Police Initiative, nearly 2.3 million Americans are held in correctional facilities. Of these incarcerated people, one out of five is arrested for drug-related offenses. Reports suggest that majority of the federal prison system is filled with non-violent drug convicts, while the rates are low at the state and local levels. Due to the existing loopholes in the correctional system, individuals go to jail 10.6 million times every year. The number is very high primarily because most people in jails are not convicted. Some of them remain behind bars until they get bail, while others wait for their trial as they do not have money to pay for bail.
The perils of drug addiction are not only limited to physical and mental health, but also extend to spoil social and communal status. Often drug-related crimes result from addiction as majority of offenses are committed in the efforts to earn money and stock to support the underlying addiction. Hence, getting rid of substance abuse as early as it begins to develop can save many lives from being trapped in the drug-related crimes.
Therefore, it is advisable to seek drug abuse help with the onset of the symptoms. Undergoing detoxification and drug abuse therapy on time can result in healthy and early recovery.
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