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Justice System

Recommendation 4c: “Collateral penalties” for addicted individuals who have committed drug-related crimes should be abandoned because they hamper the ability of individuals to achieve and maintain recovery from addiction.

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     Collateral penalties do not distinguish individuals who continue to engage in illegal behavior (e.g., using and dealing heroin) after incarceration from those who do not (e.g., someone who enters recovery and leaves involvement in the drug trade behind them).  The Commission considers this unjust as well as foolish: punishing people for engaging in desired behavior benefits neither the individual nor society. Further, these laws create barriers for individuals to enter and remain in recovery, for example by making it difficult for them to pursue education, employment, and housing.