“New policies moving nonviolent drug offenders out of prison are moving in the right direction. It is incredibly costly to incarcerate an individual, after which offenders struggle to find housing and employment,” said Julie YingLing, assistant professor for the South Dakota State University Department of Sociology and Rural Studies.

“Prison also does not fix the underlying reasons for drug use or addiction. Inmates do not always have access to drug treatment programs, which are often self-help or peer counseling groups rather than treatment led by a trained professional. Alternatives to incarceration for low-level offenders have proven to be very successful. Drug courts cost a fraction of incarceration and are incredibly successful in helping offenders achieve sobriety, reduce recidivism and become productive members of society.”

YingLing earned a doctorate in criminal justice from Michigan State University and a master’s degree in criminal justice from Villanova University. Her areas of research include drug markets and domestic violence. At SDSU, she teaches a variety of criminological courses, including drugs and society, criminology, domestic violence and juvenile delinquency.

Contact YingLing at Julie.Yingling@sdstate.edu or 605-688-4132.

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