College Honors Program

Date of Creation


Document Type


First Advisor

Alison Ludden


A large percentage of prisoners in the United States are suffering from a Substance Use Disorder (SUD), but many prisons across the country lack the proper resources to rehabilitate those with drug addictions. Incarcerated people with SUD face many dangerous and sometimes deadly consequences after release. My thesis addresses key associated questions: What role do prisons play in helping prisoners with SUD? And, how can they aid this population more effectively? When considering the breadth of such issues, I examine the sociohistorical context of drug policy in the U.S. to inform my analysis of the criminalization of substances, the greater impact of the War on Drugs, and the current opioid epidemic facing the country. Once I analyze the history of policy and attitudes towards drugs, I consider the psychology of addiction in order to evaluate evidence-based treatments and currently available services/practices for SUD. Lastly, in my thesis, I examine the greater policy implications and possibilities in the United States to promote more consensus regarding the responsibility prison systems have to the population struggling with addiction.