A new report finds that the nation’s many drug offenders are waiting months for treatment in the federal prison system. According to a Government Accountability Office report, more than 51,000 inmates were on waiting lists for basic drug-education programs in 2011 while only 31,000 inmates were enrolled.
Drug offenders make up the largest single category of prisoners in the increasingly overcrowded federal prison system, but the lack of rehabilitation programs make it difficult for them to get early release. For instance, inmates who complete the Residential Drug Abuse Program are able to get a sentence reduction of one year, but waiting lists were so lengthy that only 25 percent of graduates gained entry with more than a year left on their sentence.
The GAO says that the federal prison population has increased by half since 2000, in large part due to the growing population of drug offenders. Analysts stressed that the government needs to reevaluate its policies on drug abuse and make outside treatment available to prisoners.
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