If you choose to use alcohol or drugs illegally and are arrested, you may face serious fines, penalties and lifelong consequences. Conviction for DUI in Tennessee can mean anything from license revocation to a year in jail, depending on how many times you have been arrested before. As you face the reality of a future with a criminal record from DUI or a drug offense, you should know that many believe treatment may be more beneficial for those in your situation rather than imprisonment.
Are there problems with imprisonment for drug offenders?
More than 50 percent of the people imprisoned for more than a year between 2001 and 2013 were convicted of drug crimes. For generations, Americans have believed that punishment for the crime is adequate to deter individuals from committing the same acts in the future, but many who leave prison after their time is served turn right back to the substances they used before. This may hint that imprisonment is missing an important part of helping an individual reintegrate into society.
How are current drug offenses and DUI handled?
The United States has more people incarcerated than any other country in the world, if you combine state and federal facilities. Of the two million people behind bars, close to 25 percent of them have been convicted of an offense related to drugs. With almost seven million Americans dealing with some type of drug or alcohol dependency, the costs are growing to keep these individuals in prison or jail for their required time.
Can drug treatment programs save money?
The answer may lie in sending regular offenders to drug and alcohol treatment programs to reduce the costs of incarceration. With counseling and proper, professional treatment, users can identify and deal with the root of their drug use, rather than letting it fester only to return once the individual is free to make their own choices again. This means that many drug and alcohol offenders live productive lives after leaving the program, rather than quickly returning to jail for similar crimes, costing taxpayers money. As courts turn to treatment programs rather than incarceration time for repeat offenders, communities benefit from reduced drug-related crime, and individuals who may have faced a long life of crime learn to cope with problems in a positive way.
If you are facing charges related to a drug or alcohol offense, you may benefit from treatment rather than incarceration. The first thing you should do is talk to an attorney who can protect your rights throughout the entire process.