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Addiction Treatment Within the Judicial System

Drug Addiction and Crime

The fight to end the drug epidemic in America has been a long time effort. There is a crackdown on drug use as more and more substance issues plague cities all over the country. The Opioid crisis has taken over entire portions of many cities altogether. Higher rates of drug use tend to result in a higher number of drug-related crimes. These individuals often end up getting jail time or a prison sentence. As drug addiction and crime tend to correlate with one another, we see a very large population of incarcerated individuals whose crimes are drug-related in desperate need of addiction treatment.

There is also the issue of drug trafficking and illegally selling drugs. Among all these issues there are people who suffer from serious addiction issues and end up in jail or prison as a direct result of their drug addiction. This is a very heartbreaking situation for the individual and their loved ones. This is why treatment is so important. Not only is addiction damaging to one’s health but it can also end with an individual being in a lot of legal trouble. Oftentimes it can be easy for an addict to forget this in the moment. It is important to seek help before addiction takes over an individual’s right to freedom and lands them behind bars.

The current drug epidemic in the United States has led to an increase in the number of incarcerations that are drug-related. More and more inmates are in prison due to the relation between drug addiction and crime. The only good news from this is that it has led to there being more programs to assist individuals with drug relapse and drug-related crime.

Unless one can get clean it is very difficult to get out of the drug scene. Whether one is taking drugs or selling them, it can be hard to get away from that environment on one’s own. Due to the fact that many people in the U.S. are suffering from these issues, rehab centers and programs are now widely available. In 1987 the United States Department of Justice funded substance abuse treatment programs. The fund developed three model demonstration jail substance abuse treatment programs in order to address the issue of drug addiction and crime.

Treatment For Inmates

One of the struggles of drug-related arrest is that inmates often do not get better after being released from jail. Many of them end up going back to their familiar environments. These are the same environments that got them into jail or prison in the first place. Hence, many often end up going back to their drug addiction and repeating the behavior that led them into trouble to begin with, which is why drug addiction and crime are so closely related. This is also due to the fact that as humans we are creatures of habit. We tend to repeat the same actions over and over again. Once we associate a place or person with a certain behavior we tend to do that behavior around that place or person. Many people who struggle with addiction are around people who do as well.

A six-week jail treatment program was created for inmates. 535 inmates were admitted to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Substance Abuse Treatment Program, in Tampa, Florida from 1988 to 1991. Those that participated in the program remained in their communities for longer following release from custody. They had fewer arrests and served less time in jail compared to untreated inmates. Those that had participated in the program were to use coping skills to effectively deal with high-risk situations for drug relapse. Treatment programs can positively affect the lives of addicts that get the help they need. Since drug addiction and crime are often related or intersect at some point in the life of an addict, by treating the addiction we also remove much of the crime aspect.

Treatment in the Criminal Justice System

The drug addiction crisis continues to affect millions of people in the United States. Over seven million people in the United States are supervised by the criminal justice system. This includes many people that have co-occurring mental and substance use disorders. This is a population of people that presents many challenges for those in the justice system. Many people continue to be in and out of the criminal justice system when they aren’t given the help they truly need. As a loved one this can be a very painful process to watch someone go through. Without the help of treatment and major life changes, there is often little hope that someone addicted to substances will get better.

There are many intervention services available that are evidence-based. They have also been implemented across many diverse justice system settings. However, these intervention services are not enough to address the scope of treatment and supervision needed. The needs of offenders with co-occurring mental and substance use disorders are higher than what is available for them currently. It is important that this demographic also gets the care they need. There is a different level of treatment and supervision that these individuals need to fully recover. Without full recovery, many of these individuals will end up back in the system. Recovering without going into treatment and without full support is even extremely difficult. As the United States continues to battle against the drug crisis we will have to readdress recovery when it comes to those that have been in and out of the system.

Treatment Programs in Jail

There are programs out there that are trying to combat the drug addiction crisis issue. The Jail Based Behavioral Health Services Substance Use Disorder is one of those programs. This program supports the county sheriffs in providing screening, assessment, and treatment for individuals in jail. The program is for those with substance abuse issues, co-occurring substance use, and mental health disorders. These are individuals who need a lot of support when they are in jail. Without that support, they are bound to go back to their old ways. Screening and assessments allow the system to be aware of the issues an individual is struggling with. Treatment for the individual gives them a chance to recover and have a chance at a better future.

Under this program the sheriff department partners with local community providers to provide substance use disorder services. Treatment providers are then able to offer services within the jail. This is an amazing service that has the potential to change the lives of these individuals. The likelihood of ending up in jail is less likely when an inmate has sought treatment. Without their addiction, they most likely wouldn’t be in jail in the first place. The treatment advisors also are able to provide free or low-cost services to clients in the community upon request. This gives those that have recovered in jail a person to reach out to for support and treatment after being released. Many people can end up relapsing without proper support. Following any type of treatment, it is important that substance abuse recovers get support and aftercare.

Recovery in Jail 

The drug crisis in the criminal justice system is being addressed. A big improvement is the programs are now available within the jail system. Having programs available to individuals when they are still in jail is very beneficial. Instead of just passing time, individuals can be gaining the tools they need to recover from abuse issues. The Jail Based Behavioral Health Services are required to offer services to clients with a substance use disorder diagnosis. This applies to everyone within the jails that fall under this category. A clinician will offer screenings, assessment, and treatment within the jail. A case manager is also available to offer re-entry to treatment services in the community.

Before getting treatment inmates are screened for all types of substance abuse, disorder, and/or trauma. That way a clinician knows the history of each individual and what they specifically are dealing with. Every person is different so their treatment needs may also be different. By confronting these issues in jail, inmates can continue on the road to recovery after treatment. This gives them a better chance at a brighter, substance-free future.