Courts favor addiction treatment over jail for non-violent drug offenders

By Staff Writer

With addiction to drug and alcohol continuing to rise, jails in many areas of the country are beginning to fill with substance abusers. In an effort to solve this problem, many communities are looking to alternative sentencing programs that send offenders to treatment facilities.

For example, county officials in one Southwestern community recently launched an initiative for teens and young adults. It puts individuals who have repeatedly been convicted of drug offenses through a year-long addiction treatment program, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Program officials told the news source that the young people who have participated in the effort have responded better than they did to traditional prison sentences. This benefits everyone, as addicts get the help they need to overcome their issues and the community’s prisons become less crowded.

Judge Jackie Glass, who hears many of the county’s juvenile drug cases, told the news source that the personal attention and involvement with the offenders gives them a better chance at recovery.

States across the country have adopted similar treatment programs that spare non-violent offenders jail time in favor of addiction treatment.