How Does Court-Ordered Rehab Work?
Millions of people in the United States are addicted to drugs and alcohol and it affects their physical, emotional, and psychological health. It also affects their families and the wider community. This isn’t just because of the healthcare costs but also because of the link between drug addiction and criminal activity.
Many people who are addicted to substances eventually get in trouble with the law. They may get caught with illegal substances, steal to get money to buy drugs, or get into a car accident while driving. This often leads to fines or jail time but sometimes, an individual may be sentenced to court-ordered rehab.
In some cases, relatives can also petition the court to order an individual into treatment. This is often reserved for cases in which the person can no longer make decisions for themselves. In this article, we’ll explore what court-ordered rehab is, how it works, and whether it is effective in treating addiction.
What Is Court-Ordered Rehab?
Court-ordered rehab is often used as a type of alternative sentencing since the courts have largely moved away from criminalizing addiction. Medical professionals see addiction as a public health matter that requires treatment rather than punishment.
The reality is that many people who find themselves before the courts commit offenses while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Others get caught when they go to extreme lengths to obtain the substance to which they’re addicted.
Relatives and friends are sometimes shocked when they hear what their loved one was involved in. That’s because addiction changes the brain and people act out of character when they’re either under the influence or trying to satisfy intense cravings.
It is estimated that as many as 80 percent of all the crimes that lead to jail time in the US are triggered by drug or alcohol abuse. Property crimes, DUIs, and domestic violence top the list.
Meanwhile, almost half of all inmates in jails and prisons throughout the country meet the clinical criteria for addiction. Sixty percent of all arrested individuals test positive for some type of illegal drug. These statistics show just how closely drugs and crime are intertwined.
Incarceration doesn’t specifically address drug addiction so many people leave jail without the tools that would address what really landed them there in the first place. If they continue to use drugs or alcohol they may end up in the criminal justice system once again.
By participating in court-ordered rehab, individuals can not only avoid incarceration but get the help they need to free themselves from substance abuse and crime.
The Process of Court-Ordered Treatment
Typically, judges will only use rehab as a sentencing alternative if the individual meets certain criteria. People usually get only one chance to participate in rehab and the next time they appear before the court, the judge will impose a fine or jail time. Court-ordered rehab is usually only an option if:
- The crime resulted either directly or indirectly from drug or alcohol dependence
- The offense was non-violent
- The person qualifies for probation
- The judge believes the person would benefit from participating in rehab
Before a decision is made to order a person into rehab, an investigation has to take place. This investigation will involve both addiction treatment professionals and police officers.
In a case where relatives or loved ones petition the court, the individual is taken into custody and evaluated. The aim is to determine whether they are unable to control their actions as a result of their addiction and if they’ve developed health problems because of their substance abuse.
If the team of professionals determines that the individual is a danger to themselves or others, an emergency court order is issued and all the parties have to attend a hearing.
During the hearing, the individual, their attorney, or their relatives can ask the judge to sentence the individual to treatment instead of jail. However, the final decision is left up to the court.
It is important to note that the charges aren’t automatically dismissed when the person is ordered into rehab. The charges are only dropped when the person completes their rehab program.
Types of Court-Ordered Rehab
The effectiveness of any addiction treatment program depends largely on whether it’s tailored to the needs of the individual. The more customized the rehab program is, the more likely it is that the person will be able to achieve lasting sobriety. Therefore, the court typically offers multiple treatment options designed to meet the needs of different types of offenders.
People who are ordered into treatment in California are most frequently sent to educational programs. These are typically individuals charged with driving under the influence of alcohol.
These programs usually run for ten to 15 weeks and once the person completes the program, the judge dismisses the charges and seals the court files.
Accelerated Pretrial Rehab Programs
In order to be eligible for this type of program, you must not have participated in a similar program previously. Also, the crime must not have been a felony.
If you’ve been ordered to attend an accelerated pretrial rehab program, you’ll be released into the custody of the drug court support services department. If you complete all the requirements of the rehab program, the charges will be dropped.
Detox and Inpatient Rehab Programs
Some people need medically supervised detox because they are addicted to a drug that can cause dangerous withdrawal symptoms. If you’re addicted to alcohol, opioids, or certain prescription medications, this is likely.
After detoxing in the safest possible environment, you would move on to inpatient rehab. You may also have to perform community service or undergo vocational training. This type of intensive treatment can take the place of jail time or an otherwise harsh sentence.
It’s also possible to be sentenced to counseling while you remain in the prison system. The court may determine that you need to be incarcerated but you also need to be treated for drug or alcohol addiction. You would be separated from the general population and ordered to undergo treatment and counseling.
Paying for Court-Ordered Addiction Treatment
Some people assume that if the court orders them into rehab, the state will pay for their treatment. This isn’t the case. You’ll be required to pay for your substance abuse treatment and you can choose which facility you go to.
Insurance is likely to cover at least part of the program since the Affordable Care Act requires that policies cover mental health conditions. These include drug and alcohol dependency.
Medicaid and Medicare facilitate addiction treatment and you may also be able to benefit from subsidized care at some centers. Be sure to explore all your options if you want to avoid going to jail. Participating in rehab will ensure you get the professional help you need to address your drug use and your resulting criminal behavior.
Efficacy of Court-Ordered Rehab Care
When a person is ordered to enter rehab, the court puts together a treatment team that’s made up of the judge, attorneys, therapists, case managers, and healthcare providers. They work together to devise a treatment plan and ensure the individual complies with the terms set out in the order.
Some people who are ordered into care previously refused to seek help for their addiction even though their life was spiraling out of control. Therefore, you may be wondering if a person who was reluctant to seek care can benefit from treatment.
Studies show that the outcomes are generally the same whether a person enters treatment voluntarily or not. In fact, court-mandated treatment may even result in better outcomes than voluntary treatment. What is more important is whether the individual is motivated to kick their substance abuse habit once they enter treatment.
A person may not want to seek help but after they detox and they start to think clearly, they may become more motivated to stay clean. Inpatient treatment programs are especially good at teaching individuals how to manage temptations and triggers on an ongoing basis.
If a person is motivated, they will commit to treatment and use the skills they learn long after they’re out of structured rehab. The threat of spending time in prison and the stigma of incarceration can be enough to motivate some people.
Benefits of Compelled Treatment
Legally mandated addiction treatment can be highly successful when individuals accept that they need help and they actively participate in their recovery. By entering treatment and committing to the process, people reap several benefits including:
- Freedom from stressors and triggers. Many people get stuck in a cycle of substance abuse because they are surrounded by people who drink and use drugs. Their relatives may also enable them in their substance abuse. Spending time in a treatment facility removes them from that environment and provides them with structure, positive activities, and peace and quiet. This allows for healing and a change in mindset.
- Development of stress management techniques, life skills, and coping mechanisms. One of the reasons that people find it difficult to quit drinking or using drugs is that they don’t have any other tools for managing stressors or dealing with negative emotions. Rehab programs usually include counseling and other interventions designed to help you achieve and maintain sobriety.
- Treatment of the mind, body, and soul. Addiction affects every aspect of any individual’s life and treatment needs to be equally all-encompassing. In a good rehab facility, you’ll be able to undergo a treatment program that is tailored specifically to your needs. In addition to traditional therapies like cognitive-behavioral therapy and group counseling, you may also be exposed to holistic options such as meditation and yoga.
What Happens If a Person Fails to Complete Court-Ordered Rehab?
Detox and rehabilitation are tough and some people find it difficult to stay in treatment programs. If a person enters rehab of their own volition and they leave, there are no penalties attached.
However, a person who is ordered to attend rehab by a judge will face prosecution for their original crime if they fail to follow the court’s instructions. Any fines or jail time associated with the crime can be applied.
Court-order rehab is not just designed to keep people out of jail. It is also intended to keep them from drinking or using drugs and getting themselves into further trouble. A person who opts not to complete rehab isn’t holding up their end of the bargain and the court won’t take it lightly.
Get Help from The Discovery House in Los Angeles
Addiction is a progressive disease and it will never get better without professional help. If you or your loved one is struggling with your drug or alcohol use, it may only be a matter of time before you attract the attention of law enforcement officials.
If things have already gotten to that point, now is the time to take stock. No one likes to be ordered to do anything but court-mandated rehab can save lives. In some cases, it’s the only thing that works. Some people’s brains are so changed by substance abuse that they no longer know what is good for them.
The good news is that court-ordered treatment can be just as effective or even more effective than treatment that’s voluntarily sought. Even if you or someone you care about is facing the law courts, you may still be able to get a second chance.
If you’re searching for a California addiction treatment center that accepts people who have been ordered into rehab, reach out to The Discovery House.
We have a luxury facility that offers highly customized care and we accept most types of Preferred Provider Organizations’ plans. Contact us today for fast insurance verification or just information about how we can help get your or someone you love into a path of recovery.