What is court-ordered rehab and how does it work?

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Alternative sentencing rehab is not a new trend in the judicial system of the U.S. There’re over 3,100 drug courts in the country. And they serve over 130,000 people annually. Drug courts help individuals committing criminal acts under the influence of alcohol or drugs to receive treatment.

If a person is arrested for drunk driving, drug possession or another alcohol- or drug-related crime, they can be offered alternatives to jail time or lighter sentences if they agree to enroll into an addiction treatment program.

What is the purpose of drug courts?

Countless crimes are committed because offenders are under the influence of some substance. Many addicted criminals need treatment, not jail time. A whopping 95% of inmates keep consuming alcohol or substances after the release. And about 60% to 80% of inmates commit a drug-related crime again. Option of rehabilitation instead of prison can change that sad statistic.

A defendant may be eligible for hearing a case in drug court under the following conditions:

  • It’s their first or second offense
  • It’s an alcohol- or drug-related crime
  • A defendant was drunk or high while committing a crime
  • It’s a non-violent crime
  • A defendant has no record of violence or sexual assault
  • A defendant pleads guilty
  • A defendant is addicted to drugs or alcohol and agrees to undergo a mandated treatment.

Does mandatory treatment work?

Officials often discuss whether court ordered treatment for substance abusers is as effective as a voluntary one. The views differ. But many say that coerced treatment may be the last chance for addicted people who would not otherwise seek treatment.

When a person is going to court ordered rehab, they have to sign an agreement that they make a commitment to go into a treatment program. They are obliged to stop using any substances for the duration of treatment and submit to an alcohol or drug testing regularly to prove their compliance with the order.

The motivation is strong because if someone doesn’t complete treatment and leave the rehab, they will be incarcerated until they can go before another judge.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports the majority of studies to show that results of those who are legally required to receive treatment are as positive as or even better than of those who go into rehabs voluntary.

What are the benefits of court-ordered rehab?

Receiving treatment in a court appointed rehab may bring a person several benefits, including:

  1. Getting medically-assisted treatment

A patient will undergo detoxification which involves taking medications that help them stop drinking or taking drugs.

  • Developing skills and techniques that help to avoid relapse

Returning to a usual life after inpatient treatment can be challenging. Triggers and stressors can provoke a person to go back to an old habit.

Usually, rehab centers provide cognitive behavioral therapy in the form of individual or group sessions. The aim is to find the underlying reasons for substance abuse and teach an individual how to maintain sobriety. 

  • No record of a crime

If an addict successfully completes an alternative sentencing rehabilitation program, the court may remove the crime from the public record.

Court-ordered rehabs may also bring several benefits to the country:

  1. Financial bonuses

The NIDA reports that substance abuse costs Americans over $740 billion annually. The cost is associated with health care, crime and legal fees, and lost work productivity. Therefore, the court ordered rehabilitation is also important for the community, as it results in substantial savings in the form of reduced crime rates and lower incarceration costs.

  • Lower crime rates

According to the Justice Research and Statistics Association, rehabilitation had more positive outcomes than jail time within a period of 12 months:

  • 57% of people who had undergone drug addiction treatment were arrested again compared to 75% of those who hadn’t;
  • 42% of rehabs’ ex-patients were re-convicted compared to 65% of those who didn’t receive treatment;
  • 30% of people who had completed rehabilitation received new jail sentences compared to 51% of inmates who hadn’t enter rehabs.

Whether you’re convicted in a crime or not, it is crucial to find a way to treat your disease. Don’t sit idly and wait for cravings to go away. The problem won’t solve itself. Find the nearest rehab and act!

About the Author

Jaffrey Buckley is a columnist who focuses on drug use/abuse in the sport. His works aim to prevent athletes from improper drug use showing the consequences of abuse.

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