Problems like mental illness, substance use disorders, and homelessness are more appropriately addressed outside of the criminal justice system altogether. Services like drug treatment and affordable housing cost less and can have a better record of success. It’s time we got serious about pulling our money out of incarceration and putting it into systems that foster healthy communities.

With almost 50 percent of prisoners in federal prison for a drug offense and multitudes of severely mentally ill people imprisoned, it is time for the criminal justice system to begin exploring alternatives to incarceration.

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