Substance Abuse Treatment for Adults in the Criminal Justice SystemSubstance abuse problems are nothing to be ignored – they prevent others from being able to get back up on their feet and re-enter into a proper society. One of the biggest issues in the prison systems across our country is addiction and substance abuse. If you walk into a prison, you will find that an overwhelming amount of prisoners have abused drugs. Criminal activity is linked to these issues on many occasions.

Studies have been conducted to show that, out of an outstanding 2.3 million inmates, 85% were substance-involved and another 458,000 had histories of substance abuse and were under the influence of alcohol or other drugs at the time that their crime took place or committed the offense to buy drugs or alcohol. In 2006 alone, drugs and alcohol were involved in 78% of violent crimes! The sad fact is that billions and billions of dollars go into incarceration and court proceedings, but in 2005, a sad $632 million was spent on drug prevention and treatment. What does this say about treatment in prisons and the increased need?

The Screening Process for Adults Entering Prisons

When it comes to prison systems, many inmates will be screened for drugs and alcohol in a variety of ways upon entering. Screening is used for many other purposes, such as identifying offenders in need of healthcare services to ensure that clients receive the needed medication for whatever they are carrying. Many infectious diseases are associated with the use of drugs when particular paraphernalia is shared. Screening will also help identify individuals who may be posing a threat to themselves and others in a prison setting. It could include both criminal, physical, and mental health considerations. Here are the following screening “issues” and what information can be provided regarding what can be done for each:

  • Substance: Substance use history, motivation and desire to seek treatment, severity of current use, detoxification needs, and treatment history
  • Criminal Involvement: Current offenses, prior charges and convictions, age at first offense, prior involvement in diversionary programs, and history of diagnosis of any personality disorder
  • Health: Intoxication, infectious diseases, pregnancy, general health, and acute conditions
  • Mental Health: Suicidal tendencies, history of treatment, past diagnosis, treatment outcome, current and past medications, and psychopathy
  • Special Considerations: Educational level, reading level, learning disabilities, health records, housing, dependents, and history of abuse.

What Treatment Options are Generally Available?

  • Detoxification
  • Full-range medical treatment
  • Treatment planning
  • Counseling in groups, individually, or for families
  • Residential treatment for substance abuse
  • Substance abuse education
  • Relapse prevention services
  • Crisis intervention
  • HIV/AIDS education
  • Mental health services including medications
  • Family services unrelated to substance abuse treatment
  • Housing assistance

What is Involved With the Case Management Process?

First off, you may not be familiar with the case management process. This is the process of linking an offender with appropriate resources, tracking their progress through required programs, reporting information to supervising authorities, and more. This will include an assessment of the client’s strengths and weaknesses, planning for all treatment services available, brokering treatment, monitoring progress, and providing client support with legal and social services.

Substance abuse issues are on the rise all over the country. The real matter here is that, within prison systems, people are not getting the help and treatment that they deserve. What happens when more treatment programs are being integrated into the system? What changes? If you need legal help on your side, it may be in your best interest to call The Law Office of Peter Blair for more information. We are willing to work with you and answer any questions you have.