Recent study shows prison time does not stop drug addicts from using again

Posted: 8:17 PM, Jul 03, 2017
Updated: 2017-07-03 20:18:24-04

Kelly Farinacci has been through it all - alcohol abuse, drugs and numerous stints in jail. She agrees with a recent study, which indicates going to jail and prison does not encourage drug addicts to stop using.

"Getting high was more important than anything," Farinacci said about her thoughts before she got clean.

The Pew Charitable Trusts, who conducted the study, submitted a letter to the President's Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis outlining an analysis on drug imprisonment rates and their links to the nature and extent of state drug problems. The organization compared data from across the nation from law enforcement, corrections and health agencies.

"You go to jail, you meet more criminals, you learn how to do more things that are crooked," said Farinacci. "In fact, I had people waiting downstairs as soon as I came out the doors, and then, they'd have alcohol and drugs with them." 

Pew found similar results. The study showed no significant relationship between the states' drug offender imprisonment rates and three measures of drug problems: rates of illicit use, overdoes deaths and arrests.

According to the Pew, the results reinforce previous research that stiffer prison terms do not deter drug use and related crime.

News 5 reached out to the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office for comment on the study, but have not received a response.

Farinacci says she is not surprised by the findings. After being arrested multiple times, she was only able to put her priorities into perspectives after going to a strict lockdown rehabilitation facility.

"I went to N.E.O.C.A.P. When I got out there, my whole mindset changed," she said.

Earlier this year, Farinacci talked about how some of the programs in jail, like the YMCA Zumba program, helped her cope with her stresses.

"Helped me when I was in jail, and I liked going to it when I got out," she said. "It relaxes you, takes your mind off of things. It's healthy."

However, at the end of the day, she said the programs did not help her get completely clean and sober. She needed rehab.

Since receiving treatment, she said she has repaired her relationship with her daughter, has a part-time job and is still going to intensive outpatient treatments.

White she still has her struggles and temptations, she said she believes she is headed in the right direction.