Arizona residents who have been accused of committing a crime face many obstacles. They may end up in jail, with extensive fines and with a criminal record that makes it hard to have a successful future. Along with that, the underlying issues have not been addressed and they may still turn to alcohol or drugs to cope. One major discussion that many experts are having is about incarceration versus treatment, and which option is best for those who are arrested.

According to caron.org, federal prisons currently operate way above capacity, putting a strain on an already taxed system. When inmates are in prison, they rarely receive treatment for drug or alcohol abuse. Only a small percentage have access to a treatment program while serving their sentence. Some see treatment programs as a sort of “get out of jail free” card for those who have committed crimes, but the National Institute of on Drug Abuse provides the evidence of the reality that treatment can save money in the long run.

On the other side of the coin, addiction is a progressive, brain disease that often requires extensive treatment to overcome. Addiction is often caused by other mental health disorders or some kind of trauma. A large portion of those who are incarcerated for drug and alcohol-related crimes meet the criteria to be medically diagnosed with addiction, but the shortage of treatment programs makes it hard for them to get the help they need.

Statistics show that drug courts can greatly reduce reconviction and re-arrest records. Communities can save thousands of dollars and the pressure is taken off the jail and prison systems to care for those who may be in the wrong place to get the treatment necessary to stop the behavior. Those who are facing criminal charges for a drug or alcohol-related crime may benefit from meeting with a criminal defense attorney who can help them get the right results.