Earlier this week, we talked about a new study that indicates drunk drivers could be better served by therapy or rehabilitation sentences as opposed to jail time. By entering these specialized programs instead of going behind bars, convicted DUI offenders are able to get the therapy they require to treat their abusive drinking behavior.
Jail time can have little effect on people convicted of drunk driving. Data shows that the crime has a very high rate of repeat offenders. So, the point of alternate sentencing (such as therapy or rehabilitation) could not only be beneficial to the convicted person, but to society in general. It could even be expanded to other areas, such as drug crimes, to better deal with criminal acts.
The state of Tennessee recently made a move that could facilitate such an idea, appointing the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services in charge of the state's drug courts. Governor Bill Haslam issued the new protocol, hoping to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the criminal justice system in Tennessee.
State officials conceded that, with Tennessee facing a major drug problem, they must concentrate their resources and efforts so that they can effectively combat the issue. To have the greatest effect on the problem, it seems, state officials believe that a system similar to the one outlined in the DUI therapy article is best for those in Tennessee charged with a drug crime.
On July 1, the change will be official. People convicted of drug crimes may benefit from the mental health department overseeing the courts, as there could be an increased amount of rehabilitative sentencing.
Source: Associated Press, "TN drug courts moved to Mental Health department," June 13, 2012