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Kentucky has increased funding to treat prisoners with addictions, to $7 million, up from $1.1 million six years ago. While 30 percent of the state’s inmates with substance abuse problems return to jail, that number drops to 20 percent among those who receive treatment for their addiction, The Courier-Journal reports.

“Investing in treatment programs is absolutely a prudent use of resources,” said Justice Secretary J. Michael Brown. “Substance abuse is the number one driver in our inmate population. It tears apart families, and communities in general. Anything we can do to break that cycle will improve the overall public safety of Kentucky.”

Researchers at the University of Kentucky have found that participants in a jail-based treatment program reduced their drug use by 60 percent after they were released. “Research has consistently shown that prison-based programs like therapeutic communities, particularly when followed by after care in the community, are effective in reducing drug use and recidivism after release,” Michele Tindall of the University of Kentucky’s Center on Drug and Alcohol Research told the newspaper.

The number of treatment beds in jails, prisons and community-based programs in the state has increased from 1,364 in 2007, to 3,685 this year. There are still almost 2,350 inmates on the waiting list for treatment, the article notes. Inmates often must wait months to be admitted to a program. Most programs last six months.

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