When Court-Ordered Rehab Is a Good Measure for the Drug Criminals


A rehabilitation that is ordered by a court is also called court-mandated drug treatment. It’s a diversion from the methods used by the criminal justice system for individuals that commit crimes while struggling with drug and substance abuse or addiction. This rehabilitation is aimed at helping an individual undergo treatment for drug and substance abuse and treat the real issue instead of focusing on their criminal aspect only.

Generally, alcohol and drug addiction affect all aspects of human life. In some cases, it causes poor decision making. That’s why some addicts do things that they wouldn’t do when sober like committing crimes. As such, a judge may sentence an offender to undergo mandatory treatment for addiction instead of going to jail for committing a crime. However, this sentence doesn’t mean that the offender is granted a get-out-of-jail free card. Usually, a court-mandated treatment for addiction has eligibility requirements. For instance, it must be completed successfully and according to the requirements of the court.

Eligibility for Court Mandated Drug Treatment

Basically, not every drug addict qualifies for a court-mandated drug treatment. What happens in drug court is an evaluation of the offender by the judge to determine if they deserve court-mandated drug treatment (browse this site) instead of jail time. Although eligibility requirements differ among jurisdictions, there are common factors that come into play during the hearing. The prosecutor and the judge also play a crucial role in deciding if a person should receive jail time sentencing or a rehab program. Thus, the prosecutor and the judge must be in agreement when sentencing is made.

Here are the 7 general eligibility requirements for a court-ordered rehab:

  • You were addicted to a drug or substance when you committed the crime.  
  • You’re a second- or first-time offender.
  • You committed a non-sexual and non-violent crime.
  • You are ready and willing to undergo complete, court-mandated treatment.  
  • The crime you committed relates to drug use and you were under alcohol or drug influence when committing it.
  • You’re ready and willing to make a guilty plea for your crime.  
  • You willingly want to overcome addiction and recover fully.

According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, about half of jail inmates fight addiction while almost 80% of offenders are abusing drugs or alcohol. Additionally, almost 60% of those arrested for most crimes and undergo testing are confirmed to have been under the influence of illicit drugs when arrested. What’s more, only 20% of those arrested and need substance abuse treatment receive it. And, without undergoing treatment, 95% of the incarcerated individuals relapse after serving their terms in prison. Between 60 and 80% of the people that abuse drugs and are jailed commit crime upon release.

It is such statistics that compel drug court judges to sentence some offenders to court-mandated treatment for addiction instead of jail time. Court mandated treatment can take different forms. Nevertheless, it provides full continuum and continuity of care which is part of the comprehensive treatment program. But most importantly, this treatment is aimed at reducing crime while promoting sustained recovery from addiction.

Why Court Ordered Treatment Is a Good Measure for Drug Criminals

Court mandated treatment for drug abuse is highly beneficial in terms of reducing substance abuse cost for the society. According to The Atlantic, court-mandated treatment can have up to $27 return on investment saved in terms of healthcare expenses, future victimization, and criminal justice fees for each $1 that is spent on specialized proceedings in court and treatment. Court-mandated drug treatment programs and drug courts help the afflicted persons as well as their families while saving the society and taxpayers money.

Basically, the court orders mandated rehabilitation as an incarceration alternative. A person must agree to undergo addiction treatment instead of serving a jail term. Sentences can be reduced and records for criminal justice offense expunged for individuals that undergo complete rehabilitation as ordered by the court.

Since the offender avoids a jail term, they get a chance to keep their job. This is particularly the case when the court allows them to enter an outpatient program. Additionally, when the court expunges the criminal record of an offender, they avoid having a jail time record that makes securing an employment difficult.

Court mandated rehab in a facility that involves the entire family in its treatment program enables the offender to rebuild relationships with their family members. This is not the case when a person recovers in a jail setting. And, even when an offender undergoes treatment in a residential facility, they are allowed to meet their family. This is very important in mending a damaged relationship. Essentially, treatment for drug addiction leads to a healing process for the offender and their loved ones. What’s more, most addiction treatment facilities allow offenders more freedom and more activities to engage in. These play a role in their overall treatment.

The society also benefits because court-ordered treatment keeps non-violent offenders away from the already crowded jails and the criminal justice systems. Treatment for addiction is a more cost-effective way of rehabilitating the individuals that are already suffering from mental health and substance abuse issues. Keeping offenders in jail cost taxpayers money yet treatment is more effective when it comes to rehabilitating such individuals.

The Bottom Line

Research indicates that participants in drug courts demonstrate a reduction in substance abuse and criminal behavior after release. Additionally, these courts help in the improvement of family relationships as well as raising the rates of incomes and employment rates. These are positive changes that many offenders may not achieve if sentenced for a jail time. Additionally, offenders are expected to make frequent appearances in court. During these appearances, they are offered rewards or incentives for making positive progress. If they do not adhere to their treatment program, they are given sanctions. Examples of sanctions that a court may issue include moving them to a treatment program that is more structured or terminating the court-ordered drug treatment program altogether.


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