Tag Archives: drug court

Sentenced to Rehab Instead of Jail: Does it Work?

sentencedtorehabWhile few can argue that treating addiction provides better outcomes than locking up addicts, there are varying scenarios that start to add questions to such an assertion. One of them is in regard to sentencing people to rehab after committing other crimes, rather than going to jail as punishment. It is one thing for someone arrested for a drug-related offense, but what about theft? What if someone doesn’t want to go to treatment, but would rather serve out a few months in jail – can they still be helped?

Philosophical arguments go in many different directions, but there is information that backs up the notion that treatment is better for both the individual as well as society. The Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), Dr. Nor Volkow, claims that treatment can be effective even if the client is not their voluntarily at first.

When the arguments focus on where to draw the line on types of offenses, many people feel that the dealers should be locked up. However, most dealers are also addicts who started selling to support their habits. In these cases, some areas still provide the opportunity for dealers to receive treatment, such as a recent case in California. When this is the situation, the presiding judge often gives additional stipulations, such as reinstating the original suspended sentence if there are any failures to complete treatment or parole violations.

Such tight restrictions have appeared to be successful in settings known as drug courts. This is where non-violent offenders who have alcohol and other drug problems are dealt with. Rather than being sentenced to jail, they’re often diverted into treatment and probation, with additional goals that have to be met on employment, routine drug screening, and paying back court costs. This blend of the criminal justice system and addiction treatment field may provide the most balanced approach, combining compassion and recovery with accountability and potential punishment.

Drug Court Judge Admits Struggles with Substance Abuse

justiceAn interesting development in Broward County, FL recently revealed that a judge in a local drug court, Gisele Pollack, had fallen back into substance abuse after many years of being in recovery. The issue raises a concern for some people regarding her ability to do her job effectively, but on the other hand her honesty and seeking treatment may prove her to be even more qualified in the eyes of others.

The situation brings up a larger issue surrounding professionals in certain positions and whether or not they are afforded the same opportunities as others when they make mistakes. In this case, is it more of a policy issue, the subject at hand or the principle irony?

It is likely that prosecutors may feel that she will become too sympathetic with people who have broken the law and not hold them accountable for their actions. How she personally deals with this and performs professionally will be key, knowing that her actions will be scrutinized now more than ever.

For now, Judge Pollack has been allowed to continue her work on the circuit in the drug court. Whether or not she will continue to do her job and have people trust her will remain to be seen. What wasn’t revealed was to what extent her relapse had gone and whether or not a temporary leave of absence would have been better.

If she is successful in her treatment and able to maintain her professional duties, she would serve as a living example of the hope she tries to instill in others passing through her drug court – that problems can be corrected and people can reform their ways with the proper guidance.

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player