Rehabilitation in Prison: What Substance Users Should Know

Among the ways GateHouse Treatment is participating in this year’s National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week (NDAFW) is by shining a light on rehabilitation in prison. NDAFW is an annual, week-long health observance meant to inspire dialogue about the science of drug use and addiction. The “fact” is that an untreated addiction often results in incarceration, and we want everyone to know why that’s something to avoid.

In far too many instances, rehabilitation in prison is a predictable outcome for individuals suffering from substance use disorders (SUD) and chemical addictions. This reality is especially true for families lacking access to preventative education or the financial resources to cover substance use disorder treatment or addiction counseling.

Recent research shows roughly 65% of the American prison population has an active SUD. The sober community often refers to “jail, institutions, and death” as the outcomes for individuals who continue active addiction. This notion applies to all individuals with SUDs, even those who consider their habits in control.

Research shows substance abuse is often a long-term and relapsing disorder. Addiction generally worsens over time without sustained sobriety or clinical treatment. In our excruciating reality today, the justice system provides a semblance of drug rehabilitation for many. It’s an expensive, barely-effective solution to a long-standing, ever-evolving systemic issue.

Drug-related incarcerations can be violent, disrupt families, and ravage communities. Additionally, drug-related crimes help keep prisons at maximum capacity. So how can we prevent drug-related criminal activity? How can we properly treat individuals experiencing addiction before they enter the complicated legal system? And how can we teach communities the benefits of seeking clinical treatment before addiction leads to a prison sentence?

Resolving many of these significant issues begins with activism, education, and awareness about addiction and the options available for recovery.

Rehabilitation in Prison: Addiction and the Justice System

Individuals experiencing rehabilitation in prison tend to have committed crimes while under the influence of substances, in the process of acquiring them, or simply by being caught using or in possession. Ultimately, addiction and the criminal justice system are entangled. Now more than ever, we must find new ways to help people understand their recovery options outside this awful cycle.

Decades of punishing substance misuse without adequately addressing it show that addictions worsen without clinical, evidence-based treatment. Exploring addiction and criminality is a topic that can be covered endlessly and fascinates many. In basic terms, worsening addiction often results in persistent criminal activity that impairs communities and tears family units apart.

Individuals with substance abuse disorder enter prisons with their addictions and often leave more equipped criminals with records. These tarnished records often make finding sustainable, legal employment nearly impossible, causing many to reenter illegal activity.

It’s easy for non-sufferers of addiction to take a harsh stance on those facing these issues. Society often believes individuals with active addictions should ‘just stop using.’ However, suppose you’ve never experienced dependency. In that case, it can be challenging to relate to an individual who continues to consume substances despite severe negative consequences.

This lack of addiction understanding often propels a fierce negative stigma about substance misuse. This dangerous stigma keeps many people with substance use disorder silent and drives more use. This increase in substance misuse directly results in fatalities, overdoses, and barriers to treatment access, like masking addiction.

The Opioid Overdose Epidemic Changes Everything

Because the opioid overdose epidemic has wholly changed the drug world, we must show compassion for those battling SUDs. Even if this compassion is hard to access due to media depiction, political climate, and prejudice, it’s crucial to remember addiction treatment and awareness are the path out of the darkness.

Many addiction experts and clinicians propose data-based alternatives to incarcerating individuals with SUDs into rehabilitation-deficient prisons with little choice than returning upon release. These specialists recommend preventative treatment options like staying at addiction treatment facilities instead of long-term prison sentences.

Additionally, by offering those in active addiction an accurate depiction of what treatment looks like outside of prison walls, some may resolve to seek help before continuing illicit use. Society must recognize that an accredited substance abuse recovery program at an established drug rehabilitation center, like Gatehouse Treatment, maybe the best option for many. A stay at a residential treatment facility may even save lives.

The Differences between Rehabilitation in Prison and a Treatment Facility

Rehabilitation programs in prisons and established addiction facilities vary greatly. Rehabilitation in prison focuses on punishing and shaming those who have broken the law. Addiction treatment at a drug rehab facility provides patients essential skills for complete recovery from addiction that considers every aspect of their life experience.

Recovery centers emphasize patient-centered care with supportive therapists and clinical counselors. Treatment centers provide patients with individualized plans, referrals, and continued support after their stay. These options help individuals in recovery understand essential, integral values for success, like accountability and responsibility. Additionally, treatment prepares patients for life after rehab.

Individuals who graduate from treatment facilities gradually rejoin their communities and slowly expand their threshold for independence. Specialists consider many factors upon the patient’s release. Established treatment centers understand that recovering from substance misuse is not just about refraining from criminal behavior or testing negative.

Genuine recovery is about behavioral modifications that foster better coping skills, comprehensive trauma recovery, and promote healthier lifestyle choices.

With adequate resources and specialized guidance, individuals experiencing addiction can reset their lives at an addiction treatment center. Over their care, patients learn to make choices that do not lead to long-term consequences like long prison sentences or negative interactions with authority.

Awareness of Treatment Options

Preventative awareness engages communities and educational systems in a dialogue that accurately frames addiction as an illness, not a moral or character defect. By promoting openness about substance use from a nonjudgmental lens, individuals in active addiction may feel more inclined to seek treatment before their misuse leads to criminal activity. It may even act as a preventive for entry into the prison system.

Too frequently, drug offenders in prison receive inadequate treatment options that fail to address the core facets of their addiction and behavioral history. Some jails offer access to meetings like AA or NA; however, these are organized mainly by volunteers, not mental health clinicians. While support groups can be beneficial, chronic addiction usually requires psychological and clinical backing.

Benefits of Rehabilitation in a Treatment Facility

Drug rehabilitation in a specialized treatment facility allows individuals with SUDs practical, comprehensive treatment that leads to sustainable recovery. Through medical resources and clinical support, treatment centers improve recovery rates significantly. Unlike incarceration, rehabilitation in a treatment facility offers a structured environment where individuals may actively process and discuss underlying issues that contribute to addiction and compulsive behaviors in the first place.

For many, rehab is a brighter future free from substance dependency without the long-lasting ramifications of serving time in a corrections facility. Rehabilitation centers additionally typically offer social activities that support long-term goals. These include therapeutic groups that increase self-esteem and promote skill development.

Treatment encourages patients to have a general motivation towards healthier lifestyles. Lastly, recovery centers also foster the development of more supportive relationships, leading patients to experience more frequent, positive interactions over their life spans.

It is essential to consider the benefits of rehabilitation in a treatment center over a prison, including all the therapeutic options these facilities offer. Focusing on punitive measures like prison sentences increases recidivism. Rehabilitation in a treatment facility provides the best possible chance at recovery while being a significant preventative measure against criminal behavior.

Access Treatment and Avoid Prison Time

Rehabilitation in a drug rehab facility is preferable to rehabilitation in prison for many reasons. Best of all, it can prevent a person from ever needing to enter the criminal justice system or engage in a crime that gets them there. Treatment at an addiction facility like GateHouse Treatment offers individuals the support and care they need to recover from long-term substance use disorder.

Ultimately, treatment in a recovery facility is often much more effective at breaking the cycle of addiction and preventing criminal activity than punishment. By helping individuals with SUDs, access services like housing, counseling, therapy, and job training, clinical treatment offers them a better opportunity to reintegrate and heal their lives. Furthermore, rehabilitation in a recovery facility can help people understand their addiction.

Meaningful introspection can lead to healthier pathways forward in life. Rehabilitation conducted compassionately and effectively is the key to assisting individuals affected by addiction to recover and avoid entering the criminal justice system or reoffending.

GateHouse Treatment Facility Can Prevent the Rehabilitation in Prison Experience

Although prison may seem like the more accessible, concise resolution to substance misuse and addiction, it does not result in optimal long-term outcomes. If entered on time and with intention, addiction treatment in an established rehabilitation facility, like GateHouse Treatment, can help those with SUDs avoid lengthy incarcerations and further traumatization. It can also allow the patient to attain transformative, life-changing sobriety comfortably.

At GateHouse Treatment, we are passionate about helping individuals battling addiction find their way out of grueling situations into healthier, safer lifestyles. We provide our clients with excellent, compassionate care and support within an atmosphere that fosters growth, healing, and reflection.

We encourage you to share this blog and any other content provided on our website with anyone who might benefit from Drug and Alcohol Facts. NAWFW is March 20 – 26, but the need to educate and encourage remains throughout the year.

For more information about addiction treatment at GateHouse, please contact (855) 448-3588 for a free consultation. Together, we can change the trajectory of your life. Call today.

Brittany Marie

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