posted on Nov, 14 2006 @ 05:56 PM
I will admit that I read the entire article, but not every post in this thread. It only took a browsing of the first page to gauge the overall
response to this article. Normally I would be considered a conservative- especially when it comes to the criminal justice system. However, in this
case, I am actually torn.
If anyone here has ever been addicted to opiates such as heroin or Oxycontin, then you would know the pure HELL and TORTURE that going "cold turkey"
is. You would literally prefer death over it. If these prisoners are on Methadone then it means they have quit using heroin and/or other opiates.
It means they are being prescribed Methadone under the direct supervision of a doctor, often having a single dose dispensed to them and taking it in
front of a nurse on a daily basis so that there is no chance for abuse. Regardless of your opinion of Methadone, these people are at the very least
heading in the right direction by giving up illegal drugs.
A lot of experts say that addiction to drugs and alcohol is a disease. So if we are to refuse medicine for this disease to inmates, is that any
different than refusing medication to inmates for any other disease? I could just as easily blame an inmate for contracting HIV AIDS from having
unprotected sex with a stranger. Should we then refuse him medication because of it? Should we refuse the obese inmate medication for his heart
disease because he/she chose a life of fast food and no exercise?
It is just my opinion that these folks, the inmates who were taking methadone before their incarceration, should be weaned (sp?) off of it in a
reasonable manner and under the supervision of a doctor who actually works in the field of addiction. I think its completely unfair that we would
intentionally cause someone to go through the torture of "cold turkey", regardless of their crimes, just because they are "criminals." They're
human beings. The judge didn't sentence them to the Hell of Methadone withdrawl at their hearing. I think refusing them their medication amounts to
cruel and unusual punishment. Refusing them their Methadone also creates an atmosphere of potential violence. We've seen what drug addicts will do
when they're going through withdrawl just to get a fix. Here we are trying to REHABILITATE those who have committed crimes. The last thing we need
is some drug-crazed addict cutting a guard's throat in an attempt to escape and get high. We must also take into account that treating prisoners
this way will cause ill-will and lay the groundwork for future trouble-making. Whereas, if we treat them with civility and gradually lower their
methadone dose so as to decrease their level of withdrawl, they will be much better behaved prisoners.
I will say that this is probably the most liberal I have ever been on a subject- especially one which I've posted about on here. And I will also add
that I completely understand and empathise with the arguments of those who are against providing Methadone to inmates. I agree that some of these
prisoners- especially the murderers and the rapists- don't deserve it. But we can't get into a situation where we begin to decide which criminals
deserve this medication and which don't.
I'll give one example in closing. Suppose a physician is sent to prison for a couple of years for something along the lines of tax fraud- a
relatively victimless crime (and please let's not start an argument about tax fraud not being a victimless crime LOL). Let's say this doctor for
one reason or another became addicted to opiates in recent years. In an attempt to better himself and to escape the clutches of drug addiction, he
entered a rehab facility and was prescribed methadone. A few weeks or months, still clean and not using drugs, he is arrested and eventually found
guilty for his tax crimes (or any other generic, white collar, victimless crime which can be used for this hypothetical situation) and sentenced to
time in prison. In addition to the sentence of time in prison, away from his family and friends, away from his career, having to pay a lot in
restitution, etc.... he will now in ADDITION face the sentence of COLD TURKEY! A sentence that doesn't fall under the sentencing guidelines and a
sentence that wasn't given by his judge. Are you telling me that this man, who was doing his personal best to quit drugs without going through the
hell of withdrawl, should now spend the first month of his incarceration hugging the toilet of his prison cell, sweating and crying and in constant
agony? Just because he skipped paying his taxes one year? Are we THAT barbaric of a society? How can we be so sympathetic to the supposedly
law-abiding addict in recovery, yet so cruel to the convicted addict- even regardless of his crime(s) or past history?
Hopefully through all of this rambling I have, at the very least, displayed my argument well-enough for those to understand where it is I'm coming
from. Let me also add, for those who probably are already wondering and/or assuming, I am NOT a drug addict! I have, however, seen the horrors of
addiction countless times firsthand through family and friends. Battling addiction is punishment enough- even when on a prescription such as
Methadone. Being sentenced to prison for a crime is often punishment enough. Does it really serve any purpose, making these people suffer in pain
and agony for days, weeks or even a month? If so, then maybe it's time we re-introduce torture into our criminal justice system. Because it's not
fair that we only make the drug addicted convicts feel pain- all convicts should be treated the same way!
PS- I'm an American. And as far as I understand, our prisons DO NOT administer things like methadone to its inmates. If you're thrown in jail
you're pretty much screwed. At least Britain is more civilized in this matter, or will be in the future.