Prisoners Face Long Wait for Drug-Rehab Services

Although drug offenders represent the single-largest category of prisoners in the burgeoning federal prison system, thousands wait months to begin drug education or rehabilitation because of staff shortages and limited resources, according to federal investigators.

More than 51,000 inmates were on waiting lists in 2011 — some up to three months — for basic drug-education programs, far more than the 31,803 who were enrolled, according to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report.

The report, released this fall, focused primarily on severe overcrowding in the system that houses 218,000 inmates, nearly 40% over capacity. A troubling byproduct of that crowding, investigators found, was a crushing need for more access to critical rehabilitation programs, some of which serve as pathways to early release.

Source: – December 4, 2012