There are various studies that drug treatment works. In the reentry community it is well known that those returning from prison will return to prison (recidivism rate) at a rate of 60 percent. Alternatively see the link below that presents data from Middlesex County in Central New Jersey of up to 80 percent success rates of recidivism and staying off drugs. Indeed in New Jersey these programs would help save money and more importantly help treat people who need help. New Jersey also leads the nation in drug incarceration (according to Drug Policy Alliance, www.drugpolicy.org), upwards of 48% of inmates are serving time for drugs. This is an urgent need not only for New Jersey, but for the nation.
Of course, as always this argument ignores the reality of imprisoning 2.2 million people in America (over 25% of the world's prison population and growing). It is big business with an outrageous profit margin. Corporations make money on the prison complexes themselves as well as healthcare, phone service, food service, etc. But, let us at least begin the conversation.