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Court Ordered Treatment: A Comprehensive Overview

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Court ordered treatment is a unique opportunity for individuals with addictions to get the help they need that they may not get for themselves otherwise. Let’s face it, it really is a second chance. There are opportunities to take part in a jail diversionary program for drug addicts and alcoholics alike.

Our jails in this country are overrun with substance abusers, many of who committed no crime other than possessing or using their illicit substance. Many experts don’t believe that incarceration is the best way to handle these situations as they don’t deal with the cause of the crime, the addiction. This is where court ordered treatment comes in.

A judge may have the discretion to sentence an addict to mandatory drug and alcohol treatment, which they can take in lieu of a jail sentence. Things that weigh on whether or not a judge will give you this opportunity include whether this is your first offense, whether you’ve been convicted of a violent crime in the past and whether or not they think you’ll ever get the treatment you need to battle your addiction if they don’t sentence you to treatment.

The goal of court ordered treatment is not to punish anyone or force them to do something they don’t want to do. The goal is to give individuals who struggle with the disease of addiction the chance to get clean and sober in a positive, healthy environment and to give them the time and counseling they need to get to the bottom of their substance abuse habit. Why did they begin using in the first place?

Estimates show that as many as 60 percent of those who seek treatment from a drug rehab have had some kind of trouble with the law related to their drug or alcohol use. Many of these people have been court ordered to rehab because courts are starting to understand more and more that rehab has many benefits over prison or jail time.

Court Ordered Rehab vs Incarceration: Effectiveness

Court ordered rehab has proven to be a far better option than jail time when it comes to long-term recovery and crime reduction. There is a common misconception that court ordered rehab doesn’t work because the person is being forced and not going of their own free will. However, this is a myth and it can be quite effective.

When sentenced to prison, an inmate will usually be sober for the incarceration time period, but studies have shown that this period of sobriety has no lasting effect on whether or not a person will become a repeat offender. On the other hand, studies have shown that those who are enrolled in a court ordered rehab for just three months or more instead of jail or prison time are far more likely to maintain sobriety and discontinue their criminal activity.

In fact some numbers from a recent study show that those who go through an effective court ordered rehab program are just as likely to be successful as those who enroll in the rehab on their own.

Rehab programs, whether court ordered or not, give the client the opportunity to gain much more than just a span of time without drugs or alcohol. Drug and alcohol rehab is a place where a person can gain the knowledge and strategies that they need to stay sober for the long term. Programming includes intensive therapy on an individual and group level, along with medical care from physicians.

Court Ordered Rehab vs Incarceration: Cost

When you consider the cost that taxpayers spend to keep someone incarcerated and add the repeat offenses that will likely result from an addicted criminal who has not received help, the cost of rehab becomes much less expensive. Rehabs differ in pricing, as some are government funded and others are insurance or self-pay based.

How Can Court Ordered Treatment Work If It’s Mandatory?

This is a question that comes up regularly and the answer is simple and twofold. For starters, research has shown time and time again that substance abuse treatment does not have to be voluntary in order to be effective. While a positive attitude and motivation are certainly helpful, they are not a necessity.

Secondly, arrests and brushes with the law can often serve as the wake up call so many addicts need to accept the fact that they do have a drug or alcohol problem and maybe court ordered treatment can help them recover from it. The reduced recidivism rates of users who have gone through treatment speak for themselves, not to mention the fact that every dollar spent on substance abuse treatment is estimated to equal seven dollars saved by society on incarceration.

How Does Court Ordered Treatment Work?

People often have a very difficult time wrapping their heads around the concept that treatment can work even when an addict is not there on their own free will. What they forget is that addiction is a disease and therefore doesn’t require a person’s volition to bear results. The first stage of court ordered treatment for an addict is the same for a person who is there voluntarily, and that is mandatory detox.

Detox is the process of abstaining from a particular substance for an extended period of time until the body is completely free and clean of it and no longer physically dependent on it. Detox should always be done under the care of medical professionals, as people’s physical reaction and withdrawal symptoms can vary greatly.

After the individual no longer has any traces of drugs or alcohol in their system, the intense cognitive behavioral therapy can begin. It is in this stage where the shift occurs in many addicts who have been sentenced to court ordered treatment. With a clear head free of substance for the first time in a typically substantial period of time, the addicted individuals participate in individual, group, and family counseling to examine their past behaviors and feelings to get to the root causes of their substance abuse.

Assigned to Court Ordered Treatment? What To Do Next.

Court ordered treatment often means that person receives “deferred prosecution,” which means that the court places you on probation and orders you into substance abuse or alcohol abuse treatment rather than sentencing you right away.

The court may also add community service to your penalty. In exchange for successfully completing treatment and not violating any of the terms of your probation, the court may stop the conviction from appearing on your record.  If you’ve been court ordered to undergo drug treatment or rehab, you may find yourself wondering what you should do next.

For many people, court ordered treatment is a great opportunity. Despite having committed a crime, they have the chance to avoid having an arrest and conviction on their record forever.  Additionally, by undergoing court ordered rehabilitation at an approved and licensed treatment facility, a person has the chance to get clean and sober in a setting that offers professional care and long-term support.

While undergoing court ordered treatment at a rehab facility is certainly no vacation, treatment programs are set up to help people succeed if they want to.  Court ordered treatment should be seen as an opportunity to get help and get your life back on a healthy and productive path.

How to Choose a Court Ordered Treatment Program

If you must undergo court ordered treatment, unless the judge has already ordered that you attend a specific program, your first step will be to research and select a program to attend. You should consider your unique needs, situation and circumstances when choosing a substance abuse treatment program.

Residential style facilities allow you to live on-site during the specified time period of your court ordered treatment. Common time periods for court ordered treatment are 30, 60 or 90 days, although time periods will vary depending on the individual, the judge and the seriousness of the situation.

The benefit of undergoing treatment at a residential style facility is that because you reside there during the entire time of your treatment, you’re supervised and have access to 24/7 care and support.

Outpatient facilities are another option, and these allow you to live outside the facility even though you go through treatment there during the day.  Outpatient facilities may be an option for individuals who have responsibilities to their family or career, but are generally not acceptable as court ordered treatment programs.  Remember that court ordered treatment can be your chance to turn your life around.

Destination Hope is a Joint Commission accredited drug, alcohol and dual diagnosis rehab in Florida for men with a successful history of administering quality court ordered treatment. If there’s a man in your life who’s gotten into some trouble and has the opportunity to receive treatment rather than jail time, please give us a call so we can discuss your options.

We’re here around the clock to answer any and all questions you may have and have all the faith in the world that you can fight your addiction and come out on top.

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