A lopsided outline of arguments for treatment and incarceration of drug offenders in the United States.
In five brief, anecdote-laden chapters, Mooney (Biodiversity, 2019, etc.) attempts to present both sides of her self-imposed titular binary. She first examines the rationales for and shortcomings of imprisonment in a nation where 20% of incarcerated people are serving time for drug offenses. Though the harsh punishments wrought by mandatory minimums and truth in sentencing laws are invoked as deterrents by their defenders, she summarizes a single study for partial evidence even though it did not focus on drug crime before citing contrary research specifically examining drug offenses which fails to note any significant correlation. Later chapters reviewing alternatives to incarceration prove a bit more substantial, describing in-prison substance abuse treatments, including cognitive behavioral therapy; therapeutic communities, that house and treat participants; and medication-assisted treatment, which combines behavioral therapy with approved medications to combat opioid addictions, noncarceral alternative sentencing programs, and drug courts. Troublingly, this account largely ignores systemic and institutional considerations. Mooney confines commentary on the relationship between race and the judicial system to a single half-page sidebar detailing disparities in arrests and outcomes; similarly, she makes no mention of the pharmaceutical industry’s role in precipitating the ongoing opioid epidemic despite frequent references to the crisis.
This quick and dirty overview reads more like something written by teens than for them. (source notes, organizations, further reading, index, picture credits) (Nonfiction. 12-16)