By: Brad from Federal Prison
For some time, prosecutors and judges in all jurisdictions have studied with how to treat addictive behavior as it relates to aberrant conduct. To a large degree, the judicial system is behind the times in its comprehension of gambling and its effects on criminal behavior. As such, defendants have had minimal success in structuring arguments for leniency in sentencing. What’s more, judges imposing incarceration believe that the symptoms or “triggers” an addicted gambler would face are neutralized by the stated objectives of imprisonment. Simply stated, removing the compulsive gambler from society acts as the agent of recovery.
Sadly, and tragically, this belief is regrettable, for an exact opposite outcome is likely. In the four weeks since I entered Federal Prison, the environment is nothing short of a dramatic challenge for the addicted gambler. On any random evening, there are three big card games, a dominoes game and billiards. As, of course, we have no access to currency, inmates play for points against their opponent, all redeemable at the commissary. Furthermore, while there is AA and NA, no 12-Step program (GA) is available for compulsive gamblers, to say nothing of an absence of psychotherapy.
To be sure, incarceration has its benefits: punishment, protecting society, and teaching discipline – all in the interests of negating repeated criminal behavior. Yet for those who argue “rehabilitation,” they are misinformed at best, naïve at worst.