Although the penal system in the United States is far from perfect, there are signs that reform may be possible. For example, recent report indicated that the Department of Justice is proposing rule changes that will enable more inmates to attend residential drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs while incarcerated.
The change in the regulations will take a more clinical perspective on whether or not inmates are ready to complete their treatment, as well as offer an incentive of possibly getting paroled up to a year earlier. They assert that studies show inmates who complete drug treatment are roughly 15 percent less likely to get arrested again.
One of the most criticized elements of the American criminal justice system is that it is primarily set up for punishment and failure rather than rehabilitation. Not only are recidivism rates very high, but inmate populations are mistreated and billions of dollars are paid to private corrections companies in lucrative contracts to build and house offenders.
In other words, the more people get arrested and become repeat offenders, the more money they make. People who do become rehabilitated are few compared to those who become lifetime criminals as a result.
At least this latest move by the Department of Justice shows that there is some acknowledgement of the fact that real rehabilitation, for substance abuse as well as criminal behavior, is much more beneficial for the inmates and society as a whole.