Drug and Alcohol Treatment and the Criminal Justice System

It is not surprising that there is a direct link between the criminal justice system and drug and alcohol abuse. An individual can be pressured in to a substance abuse programme through the legal system in order to avoid jail time. Although this pressure may not be what the user wants at that time. It is very often what they may need in order to gain sobriety and lead a healthy and happy life.

There was a study which took place in 2002 that discovered that over half of the women in jail. Just under half of the men who are incarcerated reached the criteria that defines one as having a drug or alcohol dependence. Nevertheless, despite such shocking figures, according to a survey taken in 1997. Only 25% of those who are in need of substance abuse treatment receive it.

Drug Abuse and Offences

There are multiple ways in which drug abuse can be related to offences and actions resulting in incarceration. These include imprisonment due to the illicit selling or possession of drugs, theft in order to maintain their drug or alcohol abuse.

Many people have questioned whether substance abuse treatment within jails can work and actually improve the person’s situation. Thanks to a research study carried out in the 1970s. There is a positive correlation between drug abuse treatment and positive changes in inmates.

Violence and Crime

There are many detrimental effects that derive from drug abuse that affect a community, mostly violence and crime. These have financial consequences which are the results of extra costs coming from the courts, hospitals and the police. Furthermore, there are even more costs due to the secondary effects that drug and alcohol abuse have. For example costs related to child abuse and neglect, welfare costs, foster care, unemployment. On the whole there is a reduced level of productivity from the person with a substance abuse problem which further puts needless expenses on the community.


Positive statistics produced by NIDA in 2006 show the benefits of treatment programmes on crime and criminal behaviour.  Thus, with treatment criminal behavior can be diminished by up to 80%. This reinforces the need to treat addicts within the criminal justice system in order to benefit society as a whole.

The benefits of a long term alcohol and drug rehabilitation programme or treatment programme can be found in almost every situation helping an addict learn how to give up their harmful habits and learn how to lead a healthy, sober, happy life.

If you have an issue with drugs and/or alcohol and want help. Please call the Haynes Clinic on 01462 851414.