Do All Drug Offenses Warrant Jail Or Prison Time?

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While drug crimes are certainly a serious issue in North Carolina, some may wonder if all of them warrant jail or prison time. Drug offenses vary in their severity, and those who are accused of low level offenses may benefit from treatment rather than punishment. In some cases, Drug Treatment Court simply is the better option.

Criminal proceedings that result in a jail or prison sentence certainly do have their place — there is no debating that. However, for those with some addictive behaviors, prison or jail time isn’t likely to help change that behavior. This is where alternative sentencing offered through Drug Treatment Court is so valuable.

Drug Treatment Court offers those low level offenders the ability to access the treatment they need in order to beat their addictions. This alternative form of sentencing is not a walk in the park, though, and does have very specific requirements. Those who are granted this type of sentence are required to meet a specific curfew, attend substance abuse meetings and submit to frequent drug tests. Those who fail to meet the requirements set forth in their case could face jail/prison time.

Approximately 30 to 40 percent of all Drug Court participants complete the program. While there is still a long way to go to get more people actively working on completing this type of program, this alternative sentencing is seeing success. Along with getting people the help they need, it also costs North Carolina far less, at $12 a day to cover treatment, as opposed to $76 a day to incarcerate someone. Those who stand accused of low level or non-violent drug offenses could benefit from these services. With the help of legal representation, it is possible to either fight the drug related charges at hand or seek alternative sentencing in Drug Treatment Court.

Source: whqr.org, “Drug Treatment Court Attempts to Address Demand for Drugs, Including Heroin“, Isabelle Shepherd, Nov. 21, 2014