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Placing drug offenders in prison isn’t always the best option

If most lawmakers had their way, they’d lock every drug defendant up in prison. Evidence suggests, however, that this isn’t the ideal solution for effectuating a lasting change. It instead leads to a perpetual cycle of problems. This realization has led some jurisdictions to implement alternative sentencing programs to help drug defendants get the help they truly need in kicking their addictions. 

How Connecticut is improving things for drug offenders with addictions

Defendants don’t typically find themselves facing drug charges once, but instead multiple times. Things typically went this way in most Connecticut jurisdictions until lawmakers decided to try a new approach to get to the root of the addiction that defendants faced. 

Bridgeport’s judicial branch launched its Treatment Pathways Program (TPP) more than five years ago. One defendant who’d previously served time in prison and on probation for drug charges quickly found himself back involved with the legal system facing similar prospects. A judge decided to try something different this time around. He found himself in an addiction recovery program within a day of his arrest. He continued working and providing for his family while scaling up his treatment, as needed, to kick his drug habit. 

How drug diversion programs like work

Defendants who participate in diversion programs like these often succeed in kicking their drug habits because they remain engaged in the community and have a chance at delayed prosecution. Anyone admitted to programs like TPP will only face arraignment after treatment instead of at the beginning. Defendants who successfully kick their drug habit often avoid future arrests and jail time and may even have their case dismissed. At a minimum, successful completion of a drug program encourages the court to be lenient about sentencing.

Who can participate in programs like these?

Diversion programs such as these aren’t ideal for every drug defendant. They may be ideal for those who haven’t traditionally had the financial resources to get the help they need and are looking for real change in their lives, though. 

While it would be ideal for every jurisdiction throughout Connecticut to have such a program in place, it’s not economically feasible to do so. Fortunately, there are options for avoiding a conviction on your record in your Hartford case. A drug crimes attorney can advise you of defense strategies that you may pursue in your Connecticut case to include alternative sentencing programs.