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Thursday, 21 September 2017

Court Ordered Drug and Alcohol Treatment Centers and Programs in the U.S

Drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers have always been used to help addicts whom have been caught up in the criminal-justice system and have been committed of crimes due to their addiction. Many drug and or alcohol users who have been using for long periods of time or even a short while may have been caught up with the law at some point. These crimes can range from petty crimes, summary convictions, and also indictable offenses and more serious crimes. In the past, a drug and or alcohol addiction was not always treated, and the person be charged or convicted was just given their punishment or just sent to prison. Today, when persons are charged for drug and or alcohol-related crimes, there are options presented to them for treatment. This does not always happen of course, as every case is ultimately different and every person who is caught up in the criminal-justice system has a different past and or record, but either way they are given a chance and an option. The criminal-justice system and the courts are starting to look at different methods to help these individuals, rather than just sending them to jail. Most first-time offenders who have been convicted of drug and or alcohol-related crimes will be given a sentence of treatment, whether this may be attending meetings, out-patient programs, counseling, and residential drug and alcohol treatment, and also the treatment programs offered in state penitentiaries.

It is very well known that there is a connection between criminal activity and drug and alcohol abuse, crimes are reported on a daily basis with the direct link being drugged and alcohol addiction. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, in 2004 over 15% of state and federal prisoners admitted to committing their current offenses to acquire money for their addiction. It was reported in 2002, close to one-quarter of offenders in local jails admitted to having committed their crimes to acquire more money for their addiction. Many victims of various forms of violence have reported the perpetrator was under the influence of drugs and or alcohol and was committing the crime to fuel their addiction. For example, between 1995 and 2000, over 40% of the violent crimes committed against college and university students were done by those under the influence of drugs and alcohol. It also has shown that over 30% of the workplace violence was committed by persons under the influence of drugs and alcohol. In the same 2004 survey, it was reported that between 25% and 30% of the state, and federal prisoners had committed their crimes while under the influence of drugs and or alcohol. There are hundreds of different statistics that report the same trend in many different categories relating to crime. The end result all seems to be the same, with drugs and or alcohol being the direct cause. Because of all of these trending statistics the criminal-justice system started to explore new methods of handling the problem, with one of the more common methods being court ordered drug and alcohol treatment.

Many different studies have been done that have shown when court ordered treatment has been given the success of treatment has increased. For example, when DWI offenders have been ordered to meetings, out-patient and residential treatment and the pressure of serious legal action are against them, there have been reports of higher success rates. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a good percentage of people being admitted into drug and alcohol treatment reported that the legal pressure was a contributing factor in them seeking help. In other cases, the treatment may be court ordered, where the person has no choice but to go to treatment, or they can face serious jail time along with their charges. These options and court ordered treatments are very important in helping repeat offenders and addicts who are caught up in the criminal-justice system. Unfortunately, success is not always seen with every offender who has been charged with drug-related crimes, but when the criminal-justice system works hand in hand with treatment centers and substance abuse treatment organizations, success can be seen. For example, if the offender does not have the highest of motivation, or has a long criminal record, this should not deter the option of receiving treatment. Intense treatment that is targeted specifically to the individual will help them show improvements and handle their addiction, which ultimately led them to be involved in the criminal-justice system to begin with. It was estimated in 2007 that drug abuse had cost society close to 200 billion dollars, with the majority of that being linked to drug-related crimes, and the cost of treating addicts with all factors included was just under 15 billion dollars. Drug and alcohol treatment is effective and has been proven to reduce costs and help people. There are many drug and alcohol treatment centers located all throughout the United States, which offer programs for offenders, and are set up to take court ordered patients. These centers and programs are making the difference and giving people an opportunity to change.

Works cited – “”Bureau of Justice Statistics – Drugs and Crime Facts” (bjs.gov/content/dcf/duc.cfm)
“National Institute on Drug Abuse” (drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-abuse-treatment-criminal-justice-populations/principles)