Rehabilitation as an Alternative to Incarceration concerning
Drug- Related Crimes
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1. In the criminal justice system, it is common for drug- related criminal acts to be treated
directly through incarceration. The problem with this is incarceration does not directly
treat the cause of these criminal acts. Once the addict has served their time and they are
released, they only recommit these crimes and the cycle continues with them ending up
back in jail. To reduce this crime, there are more effective methods, such as rehab. Drug Comment [WU1]: Evidence?
addiction is an illness and therefore should be treated as one, with rehab rather than
incarceration. By treating those charged with drug-related crimes as suffering from an
addiction-based illness, the justice system will more effectively prevent, the recidivism of
those convicted of such crimes. My paper will attempt to argue, that incarceration is an Comment [WU2]: You are stating your
conclusion in the Introduction.
ineffective method in treating drug-related crime, because it does not hit the real cause of
such crime. I will argue this, by proving first that drug-addiction is an illness. I will show
how other countries and the US have begun to view addiction as an illness and how this
has been reflected in their policies for drug- related crimes. Then I will argue that
incarceration has proven to be ineffective in preventing the reoccurrence of such crime. I
will also argue that there are higher costs that come with incarceration. I contend that
there are many alternatives to this crime, rehab being the most effective one. Finally I go
over some of the counterarguments to my argument, proving that despite these it would
still be more effective if there were a change in policy concerning this issue.
2. Since the 18th century drug addiction has been considered a disease. This resulted in the
investment in rehabilitation facilities and addiction care centers in the 19th century
(White, 107). Addiction is medically defined as, “(1) An overpowering desire or need
(compulsion) to continue taking the drug and to obtain it by any means; (2) A tendency to
increase the dose; (3) A psychic (psychological) and sometimes a physical dependence on
the effects of the drug" (WHO). Addiction is defined as a psychological and psychical Comment [WU3]: If this is in fact a quote, it is
not from the link to WHO provided in the
dependence that requires treatment. The World Health Organization (WHO) first
considered drug addiction a serious medical problem in 1951. Addiction was then
announced as a treatable illness in 1956. In 1966 it was officially considered a disease or
an illness according to the American Psychiatric Association and the American Medical
Association. Medical studies have described drug addiction as “hijacking” brains from
voluntary use (WHO). Studies have been done and there is evidence to say that drug Comment [WU4]: Such as?
addiction is a chronic illness. Victims of the illness of addiction cannot be held
responsible for their actions when on drugs. To effectively treat the disease of addiction,
is a difficult process and many steps have to be taken. In 1966 under the Narcotic
Addiction Rehabilitation Act, Congress first attempted to move forward in providing the
alternative of rehabilitation and treatments to low level offenders of drug- crimes
3. New paragraph 3? Drug addiction is considered overpowering and compels people to
take actions, to retrieve further drugs or commit illegal acts. The desire to continue drug
use directly leads to crime. There is in fact a direct correlation between drug use and
crime, whereby addicts commit crimes, mostly to support their drug habits (Inciardi, 62).
Addicts are more likely to commit crimes when on drugs, than when not, because of the
effects drugs have. The illness of addiction causes these criminals to go out of their way
by all means to gain the next high they need to keep functioning. Gerald Lynch explains
in his article about legalization, “that certain drugs, especially cocaine, have the tendency
to elicit violent behavior because of changes that take place in the neurotransmitter
systems of the brain” (8). Jefre- Bonet’s study argues, “Some stimulant drugs, such as
cocaine, amphetamines and their derivatives, are thought to induce violent behavior
through their psychopharmacological properties. There is evidence that some drugs
change the nervous system, temporarily and/or long-term, in ways that may predispose an
individual to commit crimes”(176). This was shown in the 1980’s when crack cocaine
was introduced in NYC, violent crime increased heavily. A Civil Addict Program in
California during position 36 found that drug use directly causes crime more intensively
in the US (Bonet, 177). Many sources have found that “Federal corrections officials have
long known, and numerous studies have confirmed, that drug addiction is a "multiplier"
of crime. People who become addicts often commit crimes before they become addicted,
but the onset of addiction dramatically worsens criminal behavior” (Brookings page?).
Crime is directly related to drug use because it is viewed as an illness and takes over the
mental and psychological aspects of user’s lives just as any other mental illness might do
4. Obama has recently passed legislation describing drug addiction as a public health issue,
affecting everyone. Obama has recently talked about his new policy he would like to take
towards drug addiction. This would be a policy where first time offenders are given a
chance at rehab rather than incarceration. They would be given counseling and job
training after they have finished their rehabilitation. Differences in sentencing between
different levels of drugs would be eliminated (White House). This would help these Comment [WU5]: This is not present at the
site you have listed in your Reference section.
Perhaps it is in the actual legislation, but that is
criminals to be more useful to society and to have more productive lives. It only seems not what you have cited/linked.
natural that crime following this drug use would then also decline.
5. China took a similar stance to Obama recently stating, “Perhaps, drug policy discussion
should not be simply limited to prohibition or legalization. Instead, strategies reflecting
the complex reality of drug addiction could be a better approach to cope with a wide
range of drug-related problems which affect many aspects of our society”(Journal of
Drug Policy (JDP), 153). China’s new drug control law took effect in June 2008, stating
drug addiction is now treated as a medical issue. This has shown to be effective in
treating the problem of addiction. China has a history of large amounts of drug use in the Comment [WU6]: Evidence?
country beginning with the legalization of opium in the 1900’s and the rise in drug use in
2008, with 5% of the population as drug users (JDP, 149). Their new law takes into
account “where drug addiction is no longer understood as simply a legal or moral issue
but rather, as a complicated medical condition requiring comprehensive therapeutic
strategies”(JDP, 150). This means that addiction requires treatment and it is considered a
6. Incarceration has actually shown to be ineffective in preventing drug- related crime
because addiction is an illness that requires treatment. Prison can exacerbate drug use and
is no help in preventing or treating the problem. Once the criminal leaves jail they can
continue drug use, without ever having received treatment. Drug use in prisons is highly
common as well. Even with the amount of enforcement, drugs still find their ways into
prisons and into the hands of drug addicts. Prison does not necessarily completely stop
the abuse of drugs for criminals who enter. Incarceration of drug crimes has adverse
effects as well on employment and only leads to recidivism. The criminals who leave jail
with no treatment for their problem slip back into society and repeat the cycle of their
addictions. Not only is this harmful to the addict, but it also has negative effects on the
rest of society.
7. The European Union has noticed the connections between hard drug use and crime and
many countries have now taken steps to prevent this crime. The EMCDDA has actually
found that among drug users in prisons in the European Union, about 10-13%, not
including criminals who have committed other drug-related crimes, drug use is more
likely to continue than those who are in general population. Prison only leads to an
increase in drug use and a return to prison or more drug-related crime. This study has also
shown that the most harmful types of drugs are used in prisons, with most inmates
injecting drugs. According to the EMCDDA, “A study among 246 prisoners in
Luxembourg found that 31 % had injected drugs in prison, while studies in three other
countries reported levels of injecting of 10 % or more”. While this may not be high, there
should be no drug use in prisons at all. It only leads to more crime and recidivism of the
criminals once released. As a result of this care in the European Union prisons pertaining
to drug abuse has increased because they have found the importance of treatment during
and after incarceration to prevent the high rates of overdose deaths they are experiencing
and for reducing the risks of crimes carried out to fund illicit drug use (EMCDDA).
8. In Abramsky’s War On Crime article she argues, ““tough on crime” incarceration
strategies were counterproductive: that they were dramatically reshaping American
society, at a staggering fiscal and moral cost, and they weren’t succeeding”(11). She also
finds, “There are high recidivism numbers for paroled prisoners suggested that prisons
weren’t remolding criminals into model citizens”(11). Prison is ineffective in treating the
causes of drug-related crime and preventing recidivism she argues and Obama’s
administration is beginning to end this period of “mass incarceration” (Abramsky, 17) of
drug offenders, therefore ending the war on crime, eventually. The Justice Department
Task Force is focusing on giving more appropriate punishments in jail time for addicts
given the nature of their crimes, lowering the punishment for one time drug offenders
(Abramsky, 14). One man who’s children were in jail for drug-related crimes stated that
prison is ineffective for drug- related crimes because it is a cycle where someone is
arrested for a crime, they are released, recommit their crimes, and end up back in jail, all
while continuing to use drugs (Hewitt).
9. There is a higher price to keeping people in prison including overcrowding that could be
prevented also. Drug users in prison are actually overrepresented in the total prison
population within the EU. Keeping all of these drug abusers who commit crimes as a
consequence of using drugs, puts pressure on the criminal justice system and the prisons
that hold these people. There is a large amount of evidence that alternatives to
incarceration would be highly beneficial because they would be more cost effective.
Jofre- Bonet’s study found that “Outpatient counseling-based treatment can cost about
$300 per episode, methadone treatment costs less than $3,000 per year and a year in
prison costs about $23,000 on average” (175). Alternatives such as prevention, treatment,
or community service that focus on “harm reduction” are both more effective in treating
criminals and less costly (EMCDDA). Comment [WU7]: Not found in EMCCDA
10. There are many alternatives to jail, which have been shown to be more effective and have
been integrated in the US and other countries legal systems. Alternatives that have taken
place in the US and other countries are enacting community service projects rather than
incarceration for these criminals, allowing them to repay the damage caused to society
from drug-related crimes. Although these methods are less effective than rehabilitation,
they still address the problem of drug use as a public health problem affecting everyone.
11. Some of the programs in other countries include detoxification, suspension of parole,
suspension of trail, or exemption from criminal responsibility. In France and Belgium
drug offenders are given the choice of voluntary community service work compared to
prison and jail. Many studies show the direct relationship of the judge and social service
worker in the situation in these countries (EMCDDA). This would be helpful in
preventing this crime, because there would be an effective relationship between
understanding what causes this type of crime and ways to directly prevent it from
reoccurring. Many judges in these countries actually take into account the personal
factors of the criminal, including the stability of their lifestyle and their willingness to go
to jail. There are in some countries maximum time limit for when the prison sentence can
be avoided. Education to law enforcers, and prison guards or officials is one policy
change that has shown to be effective in many areas, to prevent drug use to continue
within prisons. In Belgium, prison staff are required to have training on drug policies, in
Croatia, prison doctors use substitution treatment effectively on prisoners, and in Latvian
prisons, doctors, and workers are trained and educated on drug use in order to treat their
patients, the prisoners (EMCDDA). Europe actually has prison programs that focus on
the education of drug use and the negative effects of it. With the WHO and UNAIDS,
Europe provides information on drugs and health and even gives opioid substitution
treatment to a considerable amount of their prisoners if they agree to it. The EU is
supporting the European Commission in developing training programs for the criminal
justice system to approach the drug addiction problem as an illness and no longer as a
criminal problem (EMCDDA).
12. The US has taken considerable action as well in beginning to find alternatives to
incarceration for drug related criminals. Some of those include the HOPE project, which
fights human trafficking and the High Point project, which keeps low- level drug
offenders out of incarcerating settings (Abramsky, 11). Both of these organizations focus
on the education of law enforcement and officials in understanding that addiction is a
mental illness and people with that illness do not chose to commit crimes solely by
themselves. Texas is a state, which has taken big actions in reducing the number of its
prisoners by creating more drug treatment centers, mental health facilities, and halfway
houses specifically for inmates released on parole. Kansas also enacted a similar
legislation building new drug treatment facilities preventing inmates from ending up back
in jail after being released (Abramsky, 12). These facilities are proving to be more
effective that jail and are less costly than if a prisoner continued drug use and returned to
jail multiple times in their life.
13. It has been shown that rehab is the most effective method in preventing drug related
crime. Intervention methods have shown to be effective in other countries as well as in
California with proposition 36. Rehab has been shown to be significantly more effective
in this situation, reducing the overcrowding of prisons and the costs of imprisonment to
society. The effectiveness of proposition 36 has been shown in studies, “A state-
commissioned study released last week by the University of California at Los Angeles
calculates that for every dollar invested in Proposition 36 programs, California has saved
$2.50--a total of $140.5m in the first year alone, and $158.8m in the second. Drug Policy
Alliance reckons savings over the first five years will add up to $866.5m--plus another
$500m saved by not having had to build yet another prison” (The Economist). The
Economist also found a 20% fall in prison inmates from Proposition 36. Some argue that
it takes much of the taxpayer money, but that is only money that could have gone to the
overcrowding of prisons or the building of a new prison facility. Over time rehab saves
14. With serious addiction and continuous relapse, incarceration might be the only effective
treatment for the rest of society. What many of the evidence and legislation suggests and
takes into account is that for high level or hard drug users, they may have already gone to
far for rehab to be effective. Rehabilitation requires the willingness of the addict to want
to change, which means some addicts may actually prefer jail to rehab, because they may
more easily be able to get a hold of drugs. If these types of drug-related criminals were to
repeatedly enter rehab and leave again this could have harmful effects on the society. It
would then be more effective for these criminals to go to jail rather than to overuse or
take advantage of the rehabilitation system for those who truly want it.
15. It is also important to take into account the different types of drugs someone is on and
how the punishment should vary across these different types of drugs and the crime
committed to be most effective. In a graph in Inciardi’s book, he labels the costs of
treatment versus the benefits of treatment and the social cost. He finds that the as the
costs of treatment rise the treatment benefits and social costs slowly decline, however
much higher above the costs of treatment. The policy change therefore has to be careful
in recognizing that some drug addicts may be better off incarcerated, because they have a
higher rate of recidivism and would only lower the costs to society. This however is why
most policies focus on treatment for first time, low -level offenders than those criminals
who are repeat offenders; they should remain in jail (Inciardi, 78). Inciardi believes that
many of these offenders are primarily heroin users, whereby violent crimes usually go
along with. For these criminals they should have access to treatment as well, but not also
without serving time in incarceration.
16. Another problem with treating addiction with treatment or other methods rather than
incarceration, is that then other mental illness would have to be given similar sentences.
One problem with the definition of addiction as a medical illness is that the definition of
addiction includes the use of alcohol. Therefore according to my argument, alcohol
should be included in the alternatives to incarceration when it is involved in crimes
committed under the influence of alcohol. This might put pressure on the criminal justice
system so that everyone could avoid jail by claiming a mental illness. This is why this
policy change of alternatives to jail should focus on only those criminal acts that are least
violent and are on criminals who are willing to accept change and are first or even second
time offenders, who have not yet had a change at a treatment facility or alternative to
incarceration, which could be more effective in preventing recidivism.
17. One alternative to incarceration that is often suggested is the legalization of drugs. This
would not be effective, however. You might think that the legalization of drugs would
open up access to drug users and decrease crime by making it less difficult and have
fewer crimes committed in order to achieve drugs. The legalization of drugs would only
lead to the increase in drug related crime as there would be a greater access and
availability to use drugs and increase the occurrence of an addiction and disease
developing. Addiction and illness and what cause the use of drugs, people do not chose
that take drugs and then commit crimes. California has recently taken steps in legalizing
medical marijuana under state law. The problem with that is that it is still not legal under
federal law, which means federal law officials can still crackdown and stop this drug use.
In this and many similar cases legalization of drugs only increases crime, rather than
preventing it. An example of the legalization of drugs gone wrong was shown in a
situation in Zurich, Switzerland, where there was the decriminalization of drug use in a
specific park. What they found was that crime actually increased during this time period,
and the situation of the park and the surrounding society severely deteriorated from this
decriminalization (Lynch, 9). With a greater access to these drugs, people used them and
they developed illness. Many addicts do not have jobs, but still need money to maintain
their drug habits, which results in further crime. Lynch argues that better alternatives to
legalization would include further education and an increase in the access and availability
of rehab and treatment centers to reduce the occurrence of drug-related crime.
18. The most important alternative to incarceration and what most of the many alternatives
focus on is rehabilitation and treatment of the illness addiction rather than ignoring it.
This directly gets to the problem of drug-related crime, and could eventually put an end
to it. Rehab treats the problem directly, by treating drug addiction as an illness. Studies
have shown the effectiveness of rehab including Brookings study where “Success is most
likely, studies show, in compulsory prison-based drug treatment programs that provide
strict supervision, are offered nine months to a year before the participant's release, and
offer meaningful aftercare”. Other studies including Losel’s findings, have found that in
England, “therapeutic measures, on average, treated offenders reveal ten (plus or minus
five) percentage points less recidivism than untreated control groups from regular
prisons”(514). This is evidence that rehab is entirely more effective than incarceration in
controlling drug- related crime and in preventing recidivism. Obama has in fact, been a
large supporter of rehab versus incarceration for drug treatment, describing it as a public
health problem. His legislation changes focus on rehabilitation centers and greater
education about drug addiction and to prisoners and the outsider world. Rehab is needed
whether it is in combination with incarceration or alone in order to prevent recidivism.
19. Proposition 36 in California is an effective example of how rehab is the most effective
treatment in combating drug-related crime. Proposition 36, or the Substance Abuse and
Crime Prevention Act of 2000 (SACPA) went into effect in July 2001 (Klein, 725). The
proposition mandates that these criminals can receive treatment instead of incarceration
depending on the seriousness of certain crimes. It increases the access to care and the
drug treatment facilities especially open to convicted drug addicts (Klein, 723). Many
other changes took place within proposition 36 including the repeal of mandatory
minimum sentences, and a greater diversion away from punishment. It particularly
addresses crimes that are mostly non-violent and first-time drug offenders are ordered to
community based treatment rather than prison. Its goal was to expand the total capacity
for drug treatment in California to 75 percent given that around 70 percent of their prison
inmates required substance abuse treatment (Klein, 739). States such as Washington,
New York, New Mexico, Michigan, Hawaii, and Florida, soon followed California’s
steps toward rehab as an alternative to incarceration in these situations, because of its
effectiveness (Klein, 724). Many of these changes were because of the lower costs of
rehab versus that of incarceration. Drug- crime has already reduced significantly from
this. It takes into consideration the public’s health and the fact that addiction is a serious
disease, which needs to first be treated in order to prevent drug- crimes.
20. In a study done by Jofre-Bonet, evidence was found to say that drug treatment reduces
crime at a higher rate and at a lower cost than incarceration (175). The study, which
focuses on crime-for- profit, including some violent crimes, took a sample of 3,502
studies of drug users who were highly likely to commit crimes from drug abuse. Using
treatment, they found that “reduced drug use is associated with more than half as many
days of crime-for-profit” (176). The study found that drug treatment had a considerably
impact on the number of days of illegal activity being committed. There was an 18
percent reduction in crime from heroin use, and a 33 percent reduction in crime from
other drugs, including cocaine, marijuana, and methamphetamines. Incarceration is found
to account for only an 8 percent reduction in crime from drug use (185). This article is
direct evidence of the positive effects of rehab versus those of incarceration.
21. When drug trafficking and crime was the highest in China, around the 1940’s the
government took action by enacting high penalties on these criminals such as the death
penalty and imprisonment. Their thinking was that if the punishment for this was high
enough, the users would just stop using drugs, however they were wrong. Since the
republic now considers drug addiction a “chronic brain disease”, their new law calls for a
mandatory rehabilitation for convicted drug addicts (JDP, 150). Their program as it is
new still has many flaws, but has already shown to be effective in their war on drugs and
therefore crime related to drug use. There has shown to be greater success in treatment
rather than punishment for addict’s recovery. Comment [WU8]: You cite JDP on the
substance of the new law in China, but give no
evidence that “there has shown to be greater
22. One problem with rehab is that for violent acts, rehab might not be as effective as success in treatment etc.
incarceration because there might be some other cause to the act other than just addiction
to drugs.citation? For these acts, the criminals should not have the option to receive
treatment over serving time in jail. However, when they are released from prison, there
should be some sort of system whereby they can receive treatment if it is needed and
accepted. It has been shown however, that crimes committed out of drug use are usually
crimes against property (about 61%) rather than other people (7-3% depending on the
drug) (Inciardi, 60). These criminals are not known to be overly violent, and usually
commit theft mostly by heavy drug abusers.
23. Treating addiction as a disease rather than a choice could increase more abusive behavior
when it comes to drugs. While using drugs is a bad decision people make. It affects
people differently and unfortunately some people have the problem of becoming
addicted. For these people drug use becomes a disease rather than just a bad decision.
24. Many people have found it hard to access rehab or help with drug addiction even when
they do need it because of healthcare issues. Without good access to rehab, drug use and
crime is only exacerbated. This too needs change in the criminal justice system. It would
prevent the need for drug treatment and crime in the first place by offering a greater
access to rehabilitation. There are examples of this for so many people. A man brought to
Congress the problem his two sons had with drugs, arguing that had there been access to
good care, they could have prevented arriving in jail. His sons were arrested for selling
heroin and they were unable to get help for their addiction, because there was no
treatment center for drug use in their area. His son was addicted to heroin and alcohol at a
young age and when he attempted to get help for his addiction, the treatment centers
either did not work, or told him they could not help him. He was turned away from many
places and told that he could not be helped. His other son who was released from jail and
sought treatment had just as hard a time receiving it, because it was the parole officer or
probation officer who had to set it up the treatment and neither of them was available to
do so. It seems that in this case particularly the problem lies with the criminal justice
system. The article also states that the treatment when finally received was extremely.
This affects the recidivism the same crimes being committed again (Hewitt). If the state
is not able to help prevent the crimes in the first place, as happened here, then they should
take responsibility for dealing with them later on. Although the individual in this situation
chose to take drugs, when he reached out to get help he was unable. The law surrounding
rehab facilities should be changed so that kids like this can get help before the situation
becomes more serious and leads to crime. This would all be costly to the government, but
so is the possibility of having to put someone back in jail over and over again if they
never receive the help they need.
25. Drug- related crime and crime in general is a significant problem facing not only the US
but also the entire world today. Someone who is under the influence of drugs, which is a
cause of their actions, commits most crimes. Drug addiction is an illness, which must be
treated properly in society to prevent the recidivism of crime. Incarceration has proven to
be ineffective over the past many years where we have seen little or no decrease in drug-
related crime. Incorporating a drug treatment option as an alternative to incarceration
would eventually be more effective in preventing recidivism. Not only have these
criminals shown to significantly reduce drug use and as a consequence crime has
reduced, but it also benefits the rest of society, as crime and drug use surrounds everyone,
not only those who have the illness of addiction.
European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), Feb 2007 (accessed
October 17, 2010) http://www.emcdda.europa.eu/html.cfm/index1574EN.html
Abramsky, Sasha. 2010. "Is This The End of The War on Crime? (cover story)." (2010) Nation
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PsycINFO, EBSCOhost (accessed November 9, 2010)
Klein, Dorie, Robin E. Miller, Amanda Noble, and Richard Speiglman. 2004. "Incorporating a
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Access under California's Proposition 36." Milbank Quarterly 82, no. 4: 723-757. Political
Science Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed October 19, 2010)
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& Government Collection, EBSCOhost (accessed September 28, 2010).
The World Health Organization, 2010 (accessed November 17, 2010)
Inciardi, James A., “Drugs and The Criminal Justice System.” (1974) Beverly Hills, Sage
Publications. (accessed October 19, 2010).
Lynch, Gerald W., and Roberta Blotner. "Legalizing drugs is not the solution. (cover story)."
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(accessed October 19, 2010).
(2006). The charm of rehab. Economist, 379(8474), 30. Retrieved from Political Science
Complete database. (accessed October 19, 2010).
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From Rhetoric to Clinical Reality,” Alcohol Problems in America 2002 (107-130). (accessed
October 19, 2010).
Jofre-Bonet, Mireia, and Jody L. Sindelar. "Drug treatment as a crime fighting tool." Journal of
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TutorHelp Comments: I have numbered your paragraphs so I can reference them for you easily.
My comments on your draft are discussed below.
Overall it is clear that this is a subject about which you are passionate and you have clearly
done a lot of reading.
Grammar, spelling, citation, and usage (marked with yellow):
1. If you are using MLA format, then your parenthetical citations are mostly okay. APA
format is preferable because it always includes the date of publication, allowing you to
cite the same author’s two or even three different publications without confusion.
2. As you can see from the comments below, the websites you cite (WHO and
Whitehouse) do not link directly to your quotes.
3. Paragraph 6, for example, consists entirely of assertions without citation of any
evidence. Your assertions may be true, but in a research paper you are required to
support these with evidence (citing the source of your evidence).
4. Some of your grammar is awkward. I suspect that you did not ask your roommate or a
classmate to read your paper out loud to you so you could hear how it sounds. Try that
method of proofreading, it will help you eliminate careless errors.
5. It is usual to refer to the President of the United States as “President Obama” (or
whichever president you are referring to). Also countries do not “state” positions.
Someone in authority in China (name or a published document) “stated that…” It is
your job to find out who and cite the person or publication.
6. A research paper does not “prove” anything. Your goal is to present evidence in support
of a policy that pursues rehabilitation rather than simple incarceration for drug offenses.
7. “rehab” is a vernacular shorthand for rehabilitation. You might use the term “rehab” as
an adjective modifying “center” as in “Rehab Center”, but otherwise be careful.
Organization and Content
1. Because you do not use subtopic headings it is more work for your reader to identify the
organization of your paper. It appears to me that you have organized your paper as
2. It isn’t clear to your reader what you intend in paragraph 24.
3. Paragraph 25 is your Conclusion. This is where you ought to summarize the evidence
you have presented supporting the policy you have researched, summarize the evidence
opposing the policy and in two or three sentences at most, state your conclusion
regarding the appropriate policy for drug related offenses.
Review the organization of your paper in light of the questions suggested below.
Introduction: Thesis statement/research question, why this is an important policy issue,
how you will proceed in your examination of this issue.
History of attitudes and policies
Substance abuse as a medical issue: what does the research on substance abuse as a
medical issue tell us?
Substance abuse and crime: what are the links between substance abuse and criminal
Incarceration: ineffectiveness and cost
Rehabilitation: effectiveness, cost, concerns
Arguments against rehabilitation as an alternative to incarceration (i.e. counter-
arguments): pars. 22 and 23 (par. 24 doesn’t really follow from the previous two
I suggest that you use subtopic headings to guide your reader through your argument.