Smart Talk

Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

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Host: Scott LaMar

Smart Talk: Could drug treatment courts reduce prison populations?

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Nov 12, 2013 4:10 PM

What to look for on Smart Talk, Wednesday, November 13, 2013:

gavil and justice scales 300 x 170.jpg

Many in the criminal justice system are re-examining whether putting drug offenders behind bars is in the best interest of the community, the drug offenders themselves, and limited resources courts have available.

Pennsylvania has been a national leader in exploring alternatives to incarcerating non-violent drug offenders.

Even politicians with tough "law and order' credentials appear to changing their minds when it comes to non-violent offenders.

One method that has been used, with apparent success, is drug treatment courts.  There are more than 2,600 drug treatment courts across the country, including several in Central Pennsylvania.

On Wednesday's Smart Talk, we'll hear from York County Common Pleas Court Judge John S. Kennedy and the county's deputy chief of adult probation Mike Stough on the benefits of drug treatment courts.

The National Association of Drug Court professionals say 75% of criminal drug court graduates never see another pair of handcuffs. 

The courts' goals include rehabilitating addicted offenders, helping them to live independent lives, and saving money.


Judge Kennedy and Mike Stough

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  • Mark img 2013-11-13 09:07

    I would like to see more awareness of a subtle but burgeoning ‘prison labor’ phenomenon, where prisoners are offered ‘work release’ benefits in exchange for working at crappy jobs, mostly in warehouses in this area. This, combined with the growing privatization of the prison system, raises many questions about the ‘monetization’ of prisoners over any attempts at rehabilitation. As economic opportunities in prisons increase for wealthy investors, the temptation may be to influence legislation in order to positively influence their businesses' bottom line. Attempts to further lower the legal blood alcohol limit for drivers comes to mind…