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President Obama Sending First-Time Drug Offenders to Rehab Instead of Jail recently gave President Obama a “promise kept” on a drug enforcement policy change.

In 2007, Senator Obama promised to send first-time drug offenders to rehab instead of jail. Obama wanted to treat drugs as more of a health issue than a law enforcement issue. stated: “The administration has supported drug courts, which allow low-level drug offenders to have their charges dropped if they successfully complete a court-monitored treatment program.”

The drug courts mostly apply to local and state level drug crimes because most federal drug offenders are serious and usually involve the selling of drugs.

The Obama administration estimates that 120,000 people were sent to treatment instead of jail, reports

Rafael Lemaitre, spokesman for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, said: “Last fiscal year, the Obama administration spent $10.4 billion on drug prevention and treatment programs compared with $9.2 billion on domestic drug enforcement.”

Researchers at the National Institute of Justice stated: "Compared to traditional criminal justice system processing, treatment and other investment costs averaged $1,392 lower per drug court participant. Reduced recidivism and other long-term program outcomes resulted in public savings of $6,744 on average per participant (or $12,218 if victimization costs are included)."


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