Tag Archives: rehabilitation

How Well Do Diversion Programs Work for DUI Offenders?

Tiger Woods entered a guilty plea in court on Friday to a charge of reckless driving, a less severe offense than Driving Under the Influence (DUI). According to reports, part of his plea agreement includes the golfer entering a diversion program for intoxicated drivers.

DUI diversion programs exist in a number of other states, such as Texas, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Louisiana, Kansas, Indiana and Georgia. Rules vary, depending on the program. Some states, such as Florida, allow local officials to decide whether to offer the program.

High Success Rates Observed

In the past four years this program has graduated close to 2,500 first-time offenders in Palm Beach County, FL. According to Deputy State Attorney Richard Clausi, the official who oversees misdemeanor prosecutions, stated recently that less than one percent of diversion program participants have reoffended.

Mr. Clausi went on to say that the key to this high success rate is having the participants take responsibility for their actions. The diversion program accomplishes this goal without requiring the participants to go to trial. Instead, they must complete the diversion programs.

How the Diversion Program Works

Woods will spend one year on probation. He will also be ordered to pay a $250.00 fine plus court costs. Woods must also meet the following requirements:

• Attend DUI school
• Perform 20 hours of community service
• Attend a workshop where he will learn how victims of impaired drivers’ lives have changed

Woods will also undergo regular drug tests, since prescription drugs and marijuana were found in his system when he was arrested.

Once he completes the program, Woods can request that the court expunge his reckless driving conviction. If he is ever charged again, Woods is not eligible for the diversion program a second time. As a repeat offender, he would be facing stiffer penalties, including a possible jail sentence, a more expensive fine and a license suspension (mandatory).

One of the greatest golfers in history is attempting to make yet another comeback, as he just announced a tournament he’ll play in this November. Hopefully the diversion and rehabilitation program as well as his surgery will help to have him on track to avoid the self-medicating trap of addiction he was stuck in.

Prisons Failing to Provide Adequate Help to Inmates with Behavioral Health Disorders

Inmates with Behavioral Health DisordersPrisons have long been a final destination for drug addicts and people suffering from various types of mental illnesses. Oftentimes they are convicted of selling or using drugs or committing some unlawful act due to their mental state. However, while imprisoned, many of these people are not getting the help they actually need in order to get better.

According to a new study published by the Department of Justice, over 60% of inmates who are in need of help are not receiving any form of treatment. In this case mental health problems include drug abuse. This is despite the fact that there is plenty of information that would indicate that prisons, both state and federal, should have policies in place to help their mental health population.

The study shows that prisoners are five times more likely to have a mental health problem than other U.S. citizens, and most prisoners report that they have had a mental health issue at least once in their lives prior to being convicted.

As part of the study, the researchers wanted to determine how many current prisoners exhibit mental health issues without receiving treatment. They found that many of the inmates polled exhibited major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder, all things that can lead to a drug addiction or a higher recidivism rate. What is unknown is how much being in prison escalated their symptoms, although some treatment experts have indicated that incarceration can trigger mental health issues.

“Once you’re in jail, your life is going to be destabilized – you’re going to lose your house, employment, it can have a snowball effect. Again and again we are seeing people who are in crisis and are being put in jail for substance abuse issues or mental health issues and that’s just not the best way to be dealing with those problems. Jails aren’t treatment programs,” explained Wendy Sawyer, an analyst with the Prison Policy Institute.

Of course, the main debate is whether the prison system is intended to help a person or punish the person. If prison policies aim to restore an individual to a working, honest and contributing member of society, then mental health help will need to be provided. There should also be frequent screenings to ensure that prison life is not creating more mental health issues and the focus should be on actual rehabilitation as much as possible.

Marijuana Edibles Causing Concern

marijuana edibleOne of the unforeseen issues with the legalization of recreational marijuana use by adults in states like Colorado has been overdoses related to marijuana edibles. These are often baked goods and other edibles where the drug is infused into the preparation process and consumed with the food or candy.

There are several dangers in this that have sprung up, quite in addition to regular use of the drug. One of them is that these edibles are more appealing to young people, and there have been numerous emergency room visits due to children consuming the drug by eating marijuana-infused cookies and other treats.

The THC content (the active ingredient in marijuana) is hard to control in these dangerous snacks as well. Sometimes there may be five or more “servings” in a chocolate bar, for example, yet a person eats the whole thing and winds up overdosing on marijuana. Another way that these overdoses occur is because unlike smoking the drug, eating it has a delayed effect since it has to pass through the stomach first. This has caused many people to continue consumption well past the amount the intended, and then it’s too late once it starts to take effect.

Marijuana overdose situations can include a variety of symptoms, such as extreme nervousness or paranoia, pounding headache, racing heart, dizziness, nausea, vomiting and more. It’s not to be taken lightly, especially as more people are showing up in emergency rooms due to marijuana intoxication.

Despite claims to the contrary, people can and do become addicted to marijuana and need treatment help to recover from it. If you or someone you love has a problem with marijuana, contact us today for more information on our effective drug rehabilitation services.

Federal Government Pushing for More Inmates to Complete Rehabilitation Programs

inmateAlthough the penal system in the United States is far from perfect, there are signs that reform may be possible. For example, recent report indicated that the Department of Justice is proposing rule changes that will enable more inmates to attend residential drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs while incarcerated.

The change in the regulations will take a more clinical perspective on whether or not inmates are ready to complete their treatment, as well as offer an incentive of possibly getting paroled up to a year earlier. They assert that studies show inmates who complete drug treatment are roughly 15 percent less likely to get arrested again.

One of the most criticized elements of the American criminal justice system is that it is primarily set up for punishment and failure rather than rehabilitation. Not only are recidivism rates very high, but inmate populations are mistreated and billions of dollars are paid to private corrections companies in lucrative contracts to build and house offenders.

In other words, the more people get arrested and become repeat offenders, the more money they make. People who do become rehabilitated are few compared to those who become lifetime criminals as a result.

At least this latest move by the Department of Justice shows that there is some acknowledgement of the fact that real rehabilitation, for substance abuse as well as criminal behavior, is much more beneficial for the inmates and society as a whole.

Debate Over New Law Regarding Pregnant Substance Abusers Heats Up

Tennessee became the first state to pass a law aimed at trying to charge pregnant women with a crime if they are addicted to drugs and refuse to get treatment. Addicted mothers who reject help would be charged with misdemeanors. Recently signed by Governor Bill Haslam, the law has not come without controversy.

According to news sources, The American Civil Liberties Union and some other groups argue that the law attempts to punish women for private choices in life, while the other side of that says that they’re causing potential harm to the child. When does the protection of personal rights become more important than protection of the rights of others?

Other critics of the law say that it might be a deterrent for pregnant women to receive proper medical care during pregnancy if they feel they’ll be punished. However, the law is intended for help and instead of punishment, providing a form of intervention so that mothers and babies can become more healthy.

Some people have said that separating a mother from her baby and forcing her to into treatment is not responsible, but these people aren’t understanding that there are many kinds of rehabilitation programs, including ones where mothers can have their children with them as well as outpatient centers.

Among the varying points made by proponents and detractors, they all seem to have some sensibility and intend to offer support for society and individuals in their own ways. Whether or not you agree with the new law, it became clear to officials in the state, and elsewhere, that something else needed to be done to reduce the percentage of babies being born addicted to drugs.

Did they go too far with this law, or is a misdemeanor not severe enough for those who refuse help? Where is the line drawn between accountability and compassion? The state has agreed to review the effects of the law after two years and implement adjustments and improvements if needed. Meanwhile, similar laws could start popping up in other states.