In the State of Georgia, the war on drugs has taken a trajectory that essentially mirrors the law and policy enforcement system. The proponents of this system believe that Georgia specifically and the United States of America in general will be able to solve their problems through the institutions of justice and maintenance of the rule of law. These proponents argue that society essentially encourages deviant behaviour only if the environment is facilitative. In their opinion, all that is necessary is the establishment of a workable legal system.
The proponents of the legal system could not be further from the truth. However, in the face of glaring statistics, community and policy formulators are forced back into the drawing board. Take the State of Georgia, for instance, the residents, citizenry and the populace in general are no strangers to the law. The rule of law has been embraced and maintained since the Declaration of Independence by the founding fathers. However, prisons still flock with criminals. Crime still has a central place in the society in Georgia. The prisons currently could be said to be working beyond capacity. According to the Correctional Services Department, the State of Georgia has about sixty thousand prisoners serving a wide range of sentences from death to civil sentences and one hundred and sixty thousand probationers. Against this number of convicts and probationers, the entire workforce at the correction service stands at fourteen thousand only, representing a mere percentage of seven point two. In addition, the prisons are overcrowded, and a general resource strain occurs in the institutions. The proponents of legal systems appreciate the grappling challenges but still insist that Georgia ought to be able to withstand the pressure and move on with the resilience expected of them as a state in the larger United States of America.
Overcrowding and inefficient evaluation and supervision due to the labour deficits among other challenges have conspired to worsen if not facilitate the problem of drug consumption in the prisons. It is on this premise that I propose three solutions that in my opinion could be applied to address these tethering challenges.
First, I propose that Georgia adopt the practise of contracting out of state services even at the Correctional Department. Under the contracting of state services, the prison service can be partially contracted to private individuals or organizations. On the surface, this may sound ridiculous. However, one should interrogate the issues at hand. Contracting the service to private bodies would ease the burden of overcrowded systems. It would also come with the added advantage of thorough servicing attributable to privatization of institutions. Policies would be developed to establish a criteria that would discriminate between prisoners on who attends a government run prison and who attends a privately run prison.
Secondly, to combat drug abuse in prisoners specifically and in the entire state generally, it would be vital for a research to be constituted that would be tasked with obtaining information on the supply, trade and indulgence in drugs. The problem of drug smuggling remains a critical and difficult issue even at an international level. The government ought to effectively research on the cartels, the line of transactions that drugs go through to finally land on the prisoners. It would then be important for clear mechanisms to be laid to prevent the reach of prisoners to the drugs. In this line of action, I propose that personnel from the Department of Homeland Security be brought in to work in toe with the Correctional Services Department. The former’s expertise and technology would be valuable towards the discovery, pursuit and arrest of drug transactions. It would be essential, therefore, to establish collaboration between the two departments.
Lastly, to top up the list of implemented solutions, I propose that the rehabilitative department of correctional services be reenergised. One of the overriding objectives of prison and legal systems is that while justice is administered to the victims, the villains are rehabilitated effectively. It beats logic to lock up prisoners only for them to be introduced into drug consumption and indulgence. It would be essential for the system to be tailored so as to be in a strategic position that enables it deliver in its objects. The question put forward perhaps would be how to achieve that. Many solutions are available. The limiting factor perhaps would be the resource base and finances. The nature of rehabilitative services being civil rather than economic it is expected that government spends as little as possible. All having been said, it would be necessary for additional probation officers, prison employees and competent psychologists to be recruited to shore up the dwindling numbers. This would effectively boost the workforce and provide the new energy that would roll out new ideas and policies for the betterment of the prison system.
In conclusion, this paper does not cast doubt on the merits of the legal systems in place in the State of Georgia; rather, it seeks to propose three policy changes that would effectively improve the prison systems.
Georgia Department of Corrections. (2012, December 31). Offender Information. Retrieved January 13, 2013, from Georgia Department of Corrections: http://www.dcor.state.ga.us/InmateInfo/InmateInfo.html
Georgia State. (2012, December 31). Georgia Department of Corrections. Retrieved January 13, 2013, from Georgia State: http://georgia.gov/agencies/georgia-department-corrections
Shewan, D., & Davies, J. B. (2007). Drug Use in Prisons:An International Perspective. New York: Taylor & Francis Group.