Sadly, when it comes to drug addiction, the focus is often on punishing the crime rather than helping victims who cannot escape. That is slowly changing in Tennessee though. Tennessee has implemented recovery court, which is an alternative to jail time for drug crimes. It focuses on rehabilitation and breaking the cycle of addiction. If you have been convicted of a drug crime, this may be an option for you
Who can enter recovery court programs?
The eligibility requirements for recovery court can vary from county to county. Usually you must be a non-violent offender with no prior convictions of violence or selling drugs to minors. You must also be willing to participate and undergo screening beforehand and throughout the treatment program.
You should also know that recovery court may not be a good option for everyone. Breaking out of addiction is not an easy task, so recovery court will require work and dedication. Rather than an "easy way out," think of it as a means of fighting addiction and improving your future.
What to expect from recovery court
Judges are finding that jail rarely works for deterring future drug crimes. The goal of recovery court is to assist victims of addiction in creating a future for themselves, rather than punishing them and ignoring the powerful hold that addiction can have on someone's life.
Recovery court involves close supervision and frequent drug testing. It also offers many ent programs, which can include programs to help you pursue higher education or find a safe place to live and work. There are incentives in place too, to encourage and reward progress. Recovery court can create a strong network of support for victims.
Many people spend 12 to 18 months in recovery court but your time will depend on your personal situation. Almost everyone who participates in drug court sees improvement in their lives afterwards, whether that is through finding a better job, a better living situation or being able to take hold of their lives again.
If you are struggling with addiction and are facing drug crime charges, you have options. A criminal defense attorney can advocate for you to enter recovery court or, if you do not think recovery court is right for you, they can form a defense around your situation and work for decreased penalties. A conviction does not have to be the end of the road for you.