It has long been understood that simple imprisonment does little to change a person's ways. While prison can be a deterrent for some, the reality is that things like addictions cause individuals to make poor decisions that result in imprisonment. Even if they would normally avoid doing dangerous things, addiction might push them to take part in criminal acts.
There are better ways to treat addiction than to put a person in prison or jail. Jails and prison are perfectly suited to those who might hurt others or continue to take part in criminal acts, but without treatment, those who are addicted are likely to be compelled by the addiction upon release.
What's a good way to help those with addictions?
Arguably, a better choice is to move people who have addictions through alternative courts and sentences, so that they can go to drug addiction or alcohol addiction treatment centers for help. Some people can receive drug or alcohol addiction counseling in jail or prison, too, depending on the facility.
Virginia does have drug treatment courts, and they are specifically designed to address the issues of those addicted to drugs and, at the same time, getting in trouble with the law.
When did Virginia get a drug treatment court?
The earliest discussion about drug treatment courts in Virginia began in 2004 with the Drug Treatment Court Act. Since then, the General Assembly has focused on the need for drug abuse treatment. At the time, it was established that there was a critical need for drug treatment courts to reduce the number of people addicted to drugs, taking part in drug-related crimes, separating families as a result of drug or substance abuse, and using drugs in general.
Drug treatment courts have five goals, including:
- Increasing personal, familiar and social accountability
- Promoting effective planning and resource use in the justice system and throughout community agencies
- Reducing the number of recidivism
- Reducing the caseloads in drug-related courts
- Reducing drug addiction and dependency among offenders
Those who can receive drug or alcohol addiction treatment are monitored closely and treated intensively. Supervision is strict, holding individuals accountable during the drug and drug-related cases while providing them with the addiction counseling and support that they need.
If you are addicted to any kind of substance and believe you need treatment, you should open up to your attorney about your preferences. A treatment program may be available in lieu of a prison sentence.