Is rehabilitation more effective than incarceration?

However, since then, rehabilitation has taken a backseat with a crime-hardening approach that sees punishment as the primary function of prison, Haney says. The approach has created explosive growth in the prison population, while having a modest effect on crime rates. When you're in jail, you may lose access to drugs or alcohol, but without treatment, you don't lose your desire to have them. Your brain is still prepared to associate addictive substances with pleasure or comfort, and prison doesn't change that.

Once you get out of jail, you're likely to return to substance abuse. Research has long supported the importance of comprehensive drug treatment for substance use disorders. However, there is little evidence to support the effectiveness of prison in mitigating drug abuse and addiction in our communities. In fact, research has shown that incarceration doesn't work to reduce drug abuse, overdose, or even drug-related crime.

Rehabilitation versus incarceration statistics show that those who receive addiction help from, for example, an Orange County rehabilitation center do better than those who are in a prison or cell.