While the article is lollipops and glitter the reality is that we have the highest rate of incarceration in the world. Two thirds of this rise since 1985 is due to drug use. 1/2 of the prisoners are there for non-violent offenses. in 2005 it cost $23,876 to keep a prisoner for a year. Additionally, the cost of drug treatment in jails is approx. $30,000. Outside of incarceration there are good programs that cost less then $10,000.
The degree of wellness may look better. I know the jail system used to be the largest provider of mental health services. Do we count our incarcerated citizens? If not, then the figures are not too accurate. Someday these prisioners will be released. They will become part of the population again. If we do not change our thinking and actions about drug use we will continue to pay huge amounts of money to house people who are not violent. We will pay 3 times the cost of treatment just to have it done in jail.
While the author may be riding a unicorn to work my job takes me to the heart of the city where I see the effects of incarceration of non-violent offenders. It does not work. Once the person has a prison record most employers
shy away. We do our society no service by long term incarceration of 754 out of every 100,000 population (2009 figure).