Jail diversion is used as an alternative to incarceration for addicts and people who suffer from mental illness. Jail diversion has become increasingly common as the judicial system continues to recognize that addiction is a disease, that it needs to be treated, and that treatment is far more effective than incarceration.
From an economic standpoint, diversion makes sense. Jails and prisons are full of people who are addicted or suffering from mental illness. Many of these people are repeat offenders who spend years and years in and out of jails and other institutions. This costs billions of dollars per year.
When addicts are given treatment as an alternative to incarceration, not only does it potentially save countless dollars, but it also increases the chances that the person will actually recover and go on to lead a productive life instead of returning to active addiction and winding up back in jail. Jail diversion can save lives, as many addicts who receive jail time instead of treatment will eventually die from their disease.
Since so many persons occupying space in jails and prisons right now are there for drug-related crimes, rerouting more of them to treatment programs will help solve the ongoing issue of overcrowding in correctional facilities.
The Problem With Addicts And Incarceration
Incarceration does not solve the drug problem. Every day, addicts are arrested and jailed, often for petty and drug-related crimes. Addicts who are incarcerated and receive no treatment for their addiction are released and often end up right back in jail. It becomes a revolving door process that often ends with the addict doing hard time as charges stack up and the severity of their crimes increase.
Even for addicts who have a genuine desire to improve their lives and not return to jail, it isn’t that easy. While inmates usually have access to resources such as twelve step meetings in jails and prisons, they only address part of the problem, addiction. Many addicts are introduced to recovery and the twelve steps for the first time while they are incarcerated, and some of them are able to remain clean and sober while in jail or prison and make the decision to turn their lives around.
However, for many recovering addicts, getting released from jail presents new challenges. Finding housing, employment and transitioning from a structured environment out into the real world can feel impossible. It is not uncommon for a person who has been released from jail or prison to try repeatedly to secure employment or housing, fail and then resort to criminal activity to make ends meet. This, unfortunately, is often the only life that they know, and without help, it can be incredibly difficult to get away from.
Why It Works
Jail diversion combines addiction treatment and life skills training with our Back On Track program to create a comprehensive solution to common problems that many addicts face when trying to put their lives back together.
Instead of jail time, diversion allows the person struggling with addiction to get the help that they need to overcome addiction and become a responsible, productive member of society. It’s not just about getting clean and sober, it’s about gaining tools to help the addict:
- Follow through with probation requirements and other legal issues
- Set goals and put them in motion
- Explore potential career or education paths
- Learn how to build a resume
- Explore vocational training options
- Learn how to communicate better, acquire interview skills
- Learn how to accomplish basic, everyday living tasks, such as shopping, paying bills, etc.
- Find affordable housing
- Heal from trauma
- Repair or resolve issues with family relationships
- And more
Our diversion program doesn’t just teach clients how to live a clean and sober lifestyle, it teaches them practical, relevant skills needed to succeed in life. Our program helps address the main issues that cause addicts to relapse and return to jails and prisons: Lack of skills, tools and strategies to succeed in their sobriety and in the real world.
If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, is facing jail time and needs help, contact Broadway Treatment Center at (714) 443-8218 to learn more about our programs. We can help you.