Seeking Treatment Instead of Jail Time


Mental health is always difficult to deal with, but can become even more complicated when it leads the the committing of a crime. Whether someone is dealing with addiction or a mental health issue like bipolar disorder, jail time is usually not an efficient solution for the defendant or for society. Seeking treatment instead of jail time is an alternative that can have a very effective outcome.

Prison and Mental Health Don’t Mix

Throwing someone in jail doesn’t make their mental health issues go away. In most cases, it just makes them worse. Their underlying issues will still be there when they are released, making it even more difficult to re-assimilate into society. This will usually then lead to the person ending up back in jail.

Why Is Treatment So Important?

Mental health treatment offers a long term solution to improving a person’s mental health. This in turn will keep those affected with mental health conditions out of prison, and lower over all prison costs for tax payers. Seeking mental treatment isn’t always easy to do but it is a beneficial life decision.

Choosing Treatment Instead of Punishment

Alternative sentencing is usually based on the belief that rehab will be a more effective solution than prison. This gives people who have been caught up in crime because of drugs or other mental health problems the chance to better themselves. Treatment programs allow people to recover from addiction and to get the mental health treatment they need to get their lives back on track.

Prison isn’t the best solution for people wanting to recover and better themselves. It’s easy to get caught up in more drugs while in prison.

Who usually qualifies for treatment instead of jail time?

  • People who have committed a nonviolent crime may have the opportunity to enter into a treatment program.
  • People who don’t have a past criminal record may get the option to choose treatment over jail time.
  • If the person can demonstrate that they can benefit from rehab they may be given the option to do so.
  • A mental evaluation with a mental health care professional may qualify someone for treatment instead of jail time.
  • If the person can show they are dedicated to improving their self and living a crime free life they may be able to get treatment instead of jail time.


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