Drug Addition Treatment Instead of Jail Time
Repeat drug offenders deserve mandatory jail time. However, people who are arrested for the first time for a drug offense may deserve a chance at rehabilitation within a treatment facility. While many judicial systems utilize the use of drug treatment programs within the jail system, there is currently a push for alternative drug programs based within hospitals and clinics. Close supervision can prevent drug-addicted criminals from becoming repeat offenders. That has created a national system of six hundred drug courts that currently provide treatment and counseling to inmates as an alternative to regular jail time (Yang, 1999).
The Los Angeles Times reports (Greene, 2000) that one answer to the problem of jail overcrowding has a simple and cost-effective solution. The Orange County jail system is currently overcrowded due to sentencing drug offenders to jail time instead of residential rehabilitation. The County Sheriff cites statistics that show utilizing the programs within the residential treatment centers for rehabilitation of drug offenders was not only cheaper to the citizens, but this sentencing also lessens the chance of repeat offenses.
While the overcrowding of the jails are an issue, the "answer is not to build more jails but to fund more residential treatment centers with trained substance abuse counselors".
Supporters of treatment programs feel the judicial system should needs to allow for treatment as a sentencing option and use it more frequently. Lawyers and judges need to educate themselves concerning different treatment options and treat each case individually to provide the best option for treatment. Probation officers will have the opportunity to visit their clients at the treatment center while citizens should be educated on the benefits of this type of program. By advertising positive exposure to the possibility of a residential treatment center within a neighborhood,