When jail should be used as a sentence, how severe it should be, and who it benefits are questions that have been discussed widely in recent years. There are some crimes to which many people would agree jail time is an appropriate response, such as homicide. However, for other crimes, there are different sides in staunch opposition regarding the use of jail time as a penalty. Drug use is one of the crimes that many believe is not remedied with jail time. Individuals addicted to drugs are said to have a disease, and so jailing them for a disease is not fair or effective.
David M. Boertje is a San Diego drug crime defense attorney who can thoroughly investigate your criminal case and develop a decisive strategy for your defense. Specifically, if you have a drug addiction and were arrested because of your condition, there may be alternative programs and options available to avoid jail time and get the help you need to beat your dependency issues.
How Does Jail Time Affect Crime and Drug Use?
With the exception of marijuana in recent years, there are many illegal substances that will result in an arrest if an officer finds them on you. For drug abusers, it may be unavoidable to stay out of prison because of the addiction they suffer. Several experts have labeled addiction a medical condition that can be treated. Medical experts agree that jail time is not an appropriate remedy for someone suffering from a disease of the brain, a.k.a. drug addiction.
What jail time does for drug addicts is potentially keep them away from certain drugs for the period of time they are behind bars. But jail is not a therapeutic experience that gets to the bottom of their condition. It is also true that jail may not even keep users away from drugs because illegal substances are routinely found circulating around prison populations. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, if substance abuse is not treated, the result is going to be negative social consequences. For the state of California, one study showed that when treatment was provided to drug offenders, crime in various communities actually went down.
Certainly, jail can be a scary place for some individuals who make mistakes and get sentenced to time behind bars. The time spent in jail could be enough for some to refrain from engaging in illegal activities again. But for a great many of the jailed population, the criminal history that they have makes it difficult to rejoin life as a productive member of society. Without other options, formerly incarcerated individuals often fall back into the same old habits of breaking the law. Furthermore, addicts who are not given proper treatment opportunities never have their disease addressed. These individuals will likely continue to use drugs. Continue reading