Court-Ordered Drug Rehab
In recent years, there is an increase in individuals who drive under the influence of drugs to be sentenced to a court-ordered drug rehab program. Judges who try these cases are increasingly sending individuals who are Driving Under The Influence (DUI), Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) or Driving Under The Influence Of Drugs (DIUD) for treatment either as an extension of or substitute for serving time in jail. This type of sentence is usually given to individuals whom the judge believes will not personally seek out professional help to recover from substance abuse. Most court-ordered programs last about sixty days and can be effective if the defendant takes advantage of the opportunity and commits him/herself to the process of recovery.
For more severe addiction cases, treatment programs are long-term and medically supervised to ensure the safety of the individual during all phases of recovery. Long-term treatment can last up to a year or more and is usually given to addicts who have recurring relapse issues or who have become dangers to themselves. The longer the defendant receives psychological and behavioral modification therapy in a structured, safe environment, the more successful are his chances of recovering from substance abuse.
Many people believe that court-ordered treatment programs are a step in the right direction because they attempt to treat the problem of addiction rather than ignore it. Defendants are usually allowed to choose which program they prefer from a variety of court-approved programs. The court does not pay for treatment so the defendant chooses what works best for them. They may choose an in-patient treatment program, but some prefer an outpatient status so that they can still be close to home and family. Defendants will be required to go through a period of probation and get regular drug screenings at an authorized facility. They will be required to meet regularly with their probation officer, mental health professional or addiction counselor. Once a defendant has completed the in-patient treatment program at the rehab facility, they may be referred to a group home called a safe-house. The safe-house will give the defendant a chance to prepare for living on his own again.
According to the National Center for Victims of Crime, over one half of all arrests in the U.S. involve individuals who test positive for illegal drug influence. When sentencing for these types of crimes is a court-ordered rehab treatment program, the individual is given a real opportunity to recover from substance abuse and is less likely to repeat criminal behavior in the future.
Alternative sentencing programs for non-violent drug or alcohol offenders gives them a second chance at life. When these defendants are put in jail to serve their sentence, they usually come out and start using again because their addiction was never treated. Alternative sentencing gives the defendant a chance to receive medically supervised treatment to recover from the disease of drug addiction. The Sentencing Reform Act of 1984 was an attempt to ease the burden on the U.S. court system by offering an alternative to incarceration. Alternative sentencing can be given at the County, State or Federal level dependent upon what crime was committed.
Court-ordered drug rehab benefits both the defendant and the community. In the U.S. the criminal justice system is saturated with drug-related cases. Millions of taxpayers’ dollars are spent annually to incarcerate offenders of drug crimes. Non-violent offenders and the community would be better served if those defendants were sentenced to a court-ordered drug rehab. Defendants would be removed from the criminal justice system and given the chance to recover from drug addiction by getting to the root of the problem. Court-ordered drug rehab is the sanest, most humane thing we can do to help those struggling with addiction.