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Virginia’s drug offenders need treatment, not incarceration

Virginia's prisons face a near-constant overcrowding problem. If you have ever spent time in one, you may know that many who are filling those beds are there because they committed drug-related offenses.

Depending on where you live and whether you have offended before, you may not necessarily have to serve time behind bars if you are an addict facing a serious criminal charge. Though not yet available in all counties, many court systems are increasingly offering drug addicts an alternative to imprisonment known as drug court. Drug courts offer several proven benefits.

Savings for the surrounding community

It costs notably less to place you in a drug court than it does a traditional prison setting, so much so that the National Association of Drug Court Professionals reports that communities save between $3,000 and $13,000 for every offender who completes the program.

More familial reunification

Because of your participation in drug court, any children you may have are less likely to have to spend considerable time in the care of someone else, such as a foster parent. You are also more likely to successfully complete drug treatment because of your status as a parent and a drug court participant.

Crime reductions

Studies indicate that communities that offer drug court programs as alternatives to imprisonment enjoy as much as a 45 percent reduction in crime. Additionally, you are likely to remain free from arrest for at least two years after completing the program because of your participation in it.

Forced compliance

Because of their highly strict nature and the threat of the alternative, drug courts all but force you to comply with treatment, drug tests and other program components. Studies show that unless you are forced to appear before a judge and are therefore held highly accountable for your actions, you may be a part of the 70 percent of substance abusers who leave treatment before finishing it.

To find out whether drug court may be an option in your area, consider getting in touch with a lawyer.

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Whitestone Young, PC
10513 Judicial Drive Suite 300
Fairfax, VA 22030-7528

Phone: 703-260-7265
Phone: 703-591-0200
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