There is no question about the connection between substance abuse and having a criminal record: Sadly, a majority of people who are interacting with the criminal justice system have some sort of mental illness or substance abuse struggle. As such, there is a constant question when it comes to criminal justice involvement: Can you still get treatment if you are involved with criminal justice, or on probation?
Thankfully, in virtually all cases, the answer is yes. It may require some additional logistical arrangement, and you will have to discuss your treatment options with your probation officer, but this will not present an insurmountable barrier. Indeed, in some cases, seeking treatment for substance abuse is actually a requirement of probation.
What Probation Means
First, it is important to understand what probation means. Probation is what happens after you are convicted of a crime, or plea guilty to one. It is usually used as a lighter sentence in order to avoid jail time. If you are given probation, you are allowed to stay in the community and out of jail. However, you are subjected to certain requirements. These requirements can be many things, including regular substance abuse testing, mental health counseling, a certain amount of community service, or periodic check-ins with a parole officer.
Probation isn’t punitive – quite the contrary. It is designed with the explicit purpose of keeping someone out of jail, but doing so by ensuring that a person recovers from whatever circumstances led them to commit a crime in the first place. As such, when done right, probation is designed to be restorative for the impacted individual. This is why seeking treatment for substance abuse is such a perfect fit with probation.
This Won’t Impact Treatment
Probation should not impact your ability to get treatment. Indeed, just the opposite is usually the case. However, you should keep in mind that getting treatment shouldn’t interfere with other responsibilities of your probation, like completing certain community service hours or meeting with your probation officer. If you fail to meet any of these requirements and fail to communicate with your probation officer, you may have a problem.
Thankfully, probation officers and the entire criminal justice system are usually very accommodating towards people who are seeking drug and alcohol treatment. If you have numerous requirements as part of your probationary sentence, including the need to seek substance abuse treatment – and if any of these requirements conflict with each other – the best thing that you can do is speak with your probation officer, explain the potential source of conflict, and discuss ways to ensure that you stay compliant and meet all of the requirements of your probation.
It May Be Required
In many cases, receiving appropriate substance abuse treatment is a requirement of completing probation. This is often the case in the event that someone commits a substance-related crime, like DUI or possession of an illegal substance. The type of treatment required to be completed varies depending on the severity of an arrest: It may be a certain amount of hours of outpatient care, or it may be an extensive period of intensive, in-patient treatment.
If it is required, keep in mind that you won’t be able to just enroll in any old drug and alcohol treatment program. As such, before selecting any treatment facility, you will want to do your homework and make sure that they meet any necessary requirements. These include, but are not limited to:
- Certification from relevant local, state or national authorities
- Professional staff that meets all relevant training requirements
- Previous work with individuals who are on probation
- Ability to file the necessary paperwork with the appropriate probation authorities, indicating that you have attended or completed treatment
- Appropriate monitoring of any individuals that are on probation in order to ensure that the individual in question is meeting all necessary requirements
- Meeting your financial and insurance requirements.
Remember, if you are on probation, you can and should get the kind of treatment that you deserve. Don’t wait on seeking the help you need – call today at 844-903-2111, and start your journey to a better life.