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Prison Reform Case Study

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Institutional Context

The United States has reached a state of emergency in dealing with the opioid crisis. Change needs to occur by decriminalizing all drugs. Decriminalization would look like reducing prison time as well as expunging the criminal record of a minimal offender, the money that was previously used on jail would now be used on rehabilitation. This hopeful policy will be brought to the institutional level of the state, also known as the state legislature. The policy would be important to bring to this level because the state has the power to reduce jail time for drug crimes, as well as change drug felonies to misdemeanors*. A recent example of this state power has been seen in Oregon. Starting in July 2017 the state reduced jail …show more content…

Bringing this policy to a state legislature, the biggest actor would be a state senator who represents large districts that have high drug prevalence. As a resident of the State of Massachusetts, the greater Lowell area has a high drug problem*. Lowell is represented by Democrat State Senator Eileen Donoghue*. Another key actor would be the support of residents in Lowell MA; Lowell has 11 rehab facilities in the city*. Many members of the community who are aware of the opioid crisis are hoping to change the way Lowell is perceived*. The influence of both citizens and Senator Donoghue would help set decriminalization up to succeed in the community. Based on research Senator Donoghue will prefer the policy on complete drug decriminalization. Donoghue will prefer this policy because she has signed on bills and made active contributions towards a criminal reform*. Her recent bill to reform criminal justice aligns similarly to what the new policy has suggested; with votes coming up soon, Senator Donoghue may be looking for something to win voters over. The status quo would mean limited policy reform, leaving the greater Lowell area with similar drug problems, and citizens searching for

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