The punishment an addict should face for drug-related crimes is a complex issue. Unlike when someone robs or assaults someone else, a drug user theoretically is not directly harming someone else by just doing drugs. And if someone commits a crime where drugs was the primary motivation or cause, some people might argue that rehab is the better alternative to prison time, and will also yield better long-term results.
Someone who is an addict might have a better chance of becoming clean if sent to a rehab facility instead of being sent to prison. While there are strong arguments advocating for prison time, rehab also seems like a viable alternative for some instances of drug-related cases.
The Importance Of Drug Rehab
Ultimately, the efficacy of drug rehab seems to be the strongest argument to how important it may be as an alternative to drug-related prison time. People who have received drug rehab treatment are significantly more likely to not re-offend within their first year of release. When someone is addicted to drugs, more than likely that individual doesn’t have the tools to cope with life without being reliant on drugs, particularly if it drove them to commit a drug-related crime.
Drug rehab helps give addicts the tools they need to negotiate life’s problems without relapsing on drugs. It also gives the addict very important treatment administered by addiction professionals who are best suited towards helping people who struggle with addiction. Undergoing drug rehab treatment can significantly increase the chances of someone starting a life without immediately re-offending.
Reducing Crime Rates
Another important part of drug rehab, is that people who undergo drug rehab as an alternative to prison are also less likely to re-offend in the first year. This gives credence to the belief that drugs are the root of the problem, and if the person is given the proper treatment, then reducing crime long-term is made more likely by using rehab as an alternative to drug-related prison time.
Another argument that people make is that many times drug offenders are housed with criminals who are much more violent and dangerous than they are. So instead of learning the skills to live a clean and sober life, instead the addict will be surrounded by dangerous and violent prisoners that will only exacerbate whatever issues triggered the drug use to begin with.
Evaluating Each Case
Drug courts have been created to deal with people who are drug addicts and their resulting criminal behavior. Increasingly, the legal system realizes that drug-related crimes need to be treated differently because of the unique issues that drug addicts face. People who are tried in drug courts have access to drug rehab, and also a variety of other services that can enable them to move forward with their life, and leave the life of drugs behind. Some of these valuable services include:
- Career training
- Life counseling
- Housing assistance
- Methadone maintenance
Overpopulation Of Prison System
Another reason why it’s important to consider rehab as an alternative to prison is the overpopulation of prisons. If programs can be set in place to assist those, particularly those who aren’t violent offenders, so they can develop the tools to become clean, then these will be invaluable in lowering the amount of people who re-offend.
Drug court also helps people with other areas of their life that need to be rebuilt, such as becoming better parents, dealing with relapse, and also transitioning back into living a regular life. Increasingly, being addicted to drugs is viewed as the root cause for many people who commit crimes, and by providing resources to help them become rehabilitated, long-term success has been found on a greater basis than sending people to prison.