The percentage of people in Alabama Department of Corrections custody who have substance use disorder.
HEAR FROM ALABAMIANS
Expand Medicaid and otherwise generously fund public and behavioral health infrastructure to reduce the likelihood that people with substance use disorder will come into contact with the criminal legal system at all and create opportunities to authentically divert them when the do.
Reclassify simple possession of a controlled substance, and possession of paraphernalia, as misdemeanors instead of felonies.
Clarify that medical decisions should be made by medical professionals, not judges, lawyers, or corrections staff, and support medication assisted treatment by:
- Requiring drug court judges to defer to medical professionals’ decisions about the use of interventions like medication assisted treatment.
- Incentivizing and funding opportunities for medical professionals to participate in drug court teams.
- Requiring jails and all Alabama Department of Corrections facilities and programs to make medication assisted treatment available to people in their custody and provide funding to support hiring of medical professionals to facilitate this process.
- Requiring jails and all Alabama Department of Corrections facilities and programs to ensure that people leaving their custody who rely on medication assisted treatment are referred to medical professionals who can continue to provide treatment upon release.
Amend laws regulating diversion programs to ensure that people who are unsuccessful in their attempts to seek treatment through programs like drug court do not face harsher punishment than people who do not participate in programs at all.
Fully fund diversion programs and take other steps to make them more accessible to the people who need them.
Law enforcement agencies should continue to train officers in the use of life-saving interventions like Narcan. Officers should be empowered and encouraged to divert people whose behavioral crises are driven by substance use disorder to crisis centers without arresting them, to minimize potentially harmful contact with jails and the criminal legal system.
Jails and prisons should ensure that all corrections staff have access to and are trained in the use of Narcan and other life-saving interventions, and should consider making Narcan and fentanyl test strips available for use by people who are incarcerated.