Will Going to Jail Help Someone Get Sober?

It is sadly not uncommon for alcohol and drug addicts to get arrested, but can spending time in jail help you get sober? Although getting arrested can make many drug abusers come to realize that their addiction is an issue, it is almost always worse for breaking addictions in comparison to treatment at a rehab center.  Here are some of the potential benefits and drawbacks to going through a detox behind bars and a couple of better alternatives that may be available to you under the right circumstances. 

Potential Benefits and Drawbacks to Jail Time 

Getting arrested for drug possession, a drug related crime, or a crime committed while under the influence can be a great wake up call for a drug or alcohol addict. However, it is not the best option for those with a serious addiction problem. Prisons do not often focus on educating inmates about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse or ways to avoid a relapse and stay sober after their sentences are over. In addition, enduring a drug detox away from medical professionals can also be dangerous for some addicts, because in certain cases life threatening withdrawal symptoms can progress quickly. It is important that these individuals have ready access to the proper care in case these deadly situations arise. As a result, alternatives like going through the drug courts or attending court ordered rehab are always better options for drug and alcohol addicts. They are usually more motivating and get more positive results as well.  

Why Rehab is Better Than Jail for Addiction Recovery

The fact that rehab is a far better place for treating addiction than jail has already been stated. However, it may help to get a closer look into reasons for why this is the case. The presence of therapy, medical staff for life threatening withdrawal symptoms, and preparing for sober living are important elements to all addiction treatment programs. Here is a closer look into why rehab programs are better than jail when it comes to addiction recovery. 

Withdrawal Symptoms: Withdrawal symptoms can be very dangerous depending on the drug type and addiction severity. For example, addictions to opioids, amphetamines, benzos, and alcohol can cause death during an alcohol or drug detox Austin that isn’t done correctly. Oftentimes these patients need to be closely monitored for their safety as a result. At a rehab center medical staff are always on hand as a necessity, but this is usually lacking in the prison environment. 

Therapy: Although therapy may be provided for some inmates, mental health may not be taken as a priority. Therapy is a very helpful tool for recovering drug and alcohol addicts for a couple of reasons. Addiction therapy helps educate the past drug user on things like their triggers, ways to avoid these triggers, and possible signs of overdose if they have a relapse. In addition to this, mental health problems are usually very prevalent in addicts, and receiving the proper treatment for these problems can greatly reduce the chance of a relapse, while also improving their quality of life. Therapy is usually involved with mental health treatments. 

Integration Back into Sober Life: Preparing for life without addiction can feel stressful, intimidating, and sometimes even scary. Luckily, addiction treatment programs focus on preparing you for living a productive and happy sober life through outlets like therapy, support groups, and other programs. This kind of support is not guaranteed in the prison system though. 


Fortunately, there are a couple legal alternatives for some addicts who get into trouble. Options like court ordered rehab and going through the drug courts are available for those who have committed nonviolent crimes and have proven that they can benefit from these programs. It also helps to have a clean criminal record and an evaluation from a drug addiction counselor stating that you are motivated to become sober. 

Court Ordered Rehab: As explained previously, alcohol or drug rehab Austin is the best possible way to treat serious addictions. Depending on the nature of the crime and the individual’s addiction the court may call for inpatient or outpatient treatment, and the treatment’s length can differ between cases as well. Although court ordered rehab is often involuntary, it has been proven that it is just as effective with breaking addictions as voluntary rehab treatment. 

Drug Courts: These Programs are run by judges and provide individualized treatments to addicts who have committed nonviolent crimes. Drug courts are more likely to grant these past drug users treatments that will successfully break their addictions. This treatment may be court ordered rehab or home therapy and detox plans for those with addictions less life threatening and severe. Both regularized and random drug tests are used to check up on the recovering addicts in this program as well. 

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