Former Correctional Officer/ Youth Services Officer
“Ultimately, I just ask lawmakers to consider truth and reason.”
Chad Padgett spent six years as a corrections and youth services officer for the Indiana Department of Corrections. At the Logansport Juvenile Intake/Diagnostic Facility, he oversaw two dozen young offenders at a time while they were evaluated by the state.
Chad explains that the failure and wastefulness of the drug war dawned on him over time as he watched offenders come to the facility for simple possession charges, leave, and then come back because of a failed drug test. “In my experience, a large portion of the recidivism rate was due to people who were brought back to the facility because their urine showed they had used a drug,” he says. “It’s bizarre that as this cycle continues and the drug offenders come back, a whole additional set of consequences occurs because that bed is taken up by the drug offender and is thus not available for a violent offender who actually needs to be locked up.”
He tells the story of one offender who was sentenced for a year for possessing a small amount of marijuana. While out of the facility, the offender used marijuana and failed the urinalysis that he was required to take upon his return. This added nine months to his sentence; the young offender ended up serving 20 months for possessing a couple of grams of marijuana. “Housing offenders is not cheap,” Chad says. “I understand trying to have a positive influence, but how is locking up people for years at a time a reasonable way to handle such an offender? Let’s stop overcrowding our prisons and free up our police resources to target true threats to society. Ultimately, I just ask lawmakers to consider truth and reason.”
Chad stopped working in 2008 due to a disability. He lives with his wife and children in Indiana, where he is a Board member of ReLegalize Indiana.