Pennsylvania Detention Center Busting at the Seams Because of Increase in Drug Use

Pennsylvania is merely the latest state to report its problems stemming from the nation’s growing addiction to heroin. The Centre County Correctional Institution is becoming extremely overcrowded because of the increase in illegal drug arrests. Authorities estimate that as many as ¾ of the inmates sought counseling due to a problem with drugs or alcohol.

The prison is not the only public service being strained by the increase in drug abuse; county funded rehab programs are desperate for funding to cover the surge in needy addicts. Crime on the streets is rising too as addicts prostitute themselves, burglarize houses, or commit other crimes to obtain money to pay for drugs. The companion problem is crimes committed while people are under the influence of alcohol or drugs like assault or DUI. The majority of offenders are non-violent drug addicts that are on a waiting list for drug counseling.

Almost 70% of the inmates are locked up because of a drug or alcohol charge, so the county has entertained the idea of starting a separate drug court that can deal with the unique aspects of an addiction driven crime. This specialized court may take a long time to set up and the problem in Centre County is immediate. So although a special drug court may alleviate the overcrowding in the future, the problem needs to be solved quickly.

Taxpayers will probably end up footing the bill for the added usage of social services although prison officials are working to find money in their already strained budgets.