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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Jail and Junkies

I have been reading alot of posts lately regarding children/addicts who are jailed.

And, the parents all feel bad, which is understandable. Some feel relief. Some feel sad.

the one thing that is not easily understood however, is how/why the criminal justice system works,and doesn't work and why.

I hear alot of "why don't they have a program my addict can get into in jail?".

Well, the fact is they do have some programs, depending on what State the inmate is in. The problem is....

They don't work.

So you can be angry, and you can say, MY CHILD IS SICK, why don't you help them while they are locked up.

Because, it is NOT the State's problem to help your child. And, having tried for about 20 years, most State's simply don't bother. The recidivism rate is still the same, the addicts start using as soon as they get out, and nothing changes. THAT is what the statistics and programs have shown.

So the taxpayer's and those IN CHARGE, look at the budget and say, should we spend money we don't have on programs that are proven not to work? And they then say, Well no, that would be stupid as hell.

Of course, we all want our children clean. Of course we are all looking for that 'magic moment/program' that hit's our addicts right in the gut and makes them want sobriety. Of course, we all look to 'SOMEONE' to cure our child.

The problem is, none of those programs work long term. Some don't even work short term. The only program that WORKS is when the addict decides ON THEIR OWN to get clean.

And, I have to honestly tell you that in jail EVERY ADDICT WILL SWEAR that they LOVE being clean, love the clarity of mind that comes with sobriety...and are going to do every single thing possible to stay that way.

Until the day or two after they get out of jail anyway.

It's like a jailhouse Christianity conversion. The inmate is all about "I've been saved!!!" and then within a month of getting out, 90% of them have forgotten every single thing they allegedly wanted.

Nodding...I know, I know. It's really sad. And it really hurts too.

Even rehabs and other programs. It seems to us, when our child is in, and they achieve the state of not being drugged, that we have our child back. Then, they get out and for most of them, eventually, they relapse.

There just isn't any easy way to say this guys.


And, once an addict wants to get clean, really wants to get clean, they will. And there are lots of programs easily accessible to an addict to assist them.

That being said, the 'clean living' homes, the 'halfway houses' and all the programs that an addict is forced into, or has accessible to them by virtue of being in prison are a waste of time and effort. Though it will make the family feel better for them to be in one. That's the only benefit however.

Bottom line, your children are in jail because they broke the law. No, they are not child molesters. No they are not murderers. But they are still lawbreakers, and criminals.

I have heard parents say over and over, "I am so surprised that ****** isn't mad that they got more jail time..."

It's because THEY know they are criminals. It's the parents who don't realize it.

I reiterate.

AN ADDICT WILL NOT BENEFIT FROM ANY PROGRAM WHATSOEVER UNTIL THEY WANT SOBRIETY, TRULY WANT SOBRIETY. And all the love in the world won't hurry that up. Neither will state run programs, jail programs or forced rehabs.



  1. Amen, sister. You are taking the words out of my mouth. I have experienced the same identical thing with my daughter three or four times.

  2. Your grasp on the reality of the situation is amazing. I agree with every single thing you've said, although my grasp of the truth still waivers at time, and I am not strong enough or clear enough to articulate this the way that you have.

  3. all so true,'s ALL about the addict REALLY wanting sobriety,...not about us wanting their sobriety...sigh. Thanks for this post.

  4. You are right, as usual. My frustration is just that I know that right now, she believes she DOES want sobriety. She is surrounded by heroin and alcohol (and I am just not understanding why that is possible, but oh well). She says she is clean, and that if she can stay clean in prison (when nodding out would be such an easier way to spend her time) then she would be an idiot to use when released.

    But I know she likely will relapse (statistically). It's just that in her mind, and the minds of those you mentioned, they like the state they find themselves in (sober) and they want to stay that way. Just seems like it would be a good time to provide treatment for those who want it.

    And one way to be certain they WANT it, would be to NOT give time off for attending the program. Just make it available, in the hope that they learn what they need to make it on the outside. If you are going to do a set amount of time that does not change, whether you go to drug treatment or not while incarcerated, I think the percentage of those in the treatment who really were there for the right reasons would increase. If even a very small percentage of THOSE folks benefited, and came out with the tools they needed and stayed clean, it would be worth it to me.

    But I get everything you are saying and I agree with the points you are making.

    P.S. Good luck with the upcoming school year and "the littles". I pray for strength, good health, and blessings for you and your family daily.

  5. You make valid points. However, if she really does want sobriety, she will keep it :)

  6. Amen and yet again I say amen. Daughter is 6 months out of rehab (4th program) and headed to jail as I write. I am so tired of telling the kids (I am guardian) that Mommy is sick. But I can hardly say "Mommy loves her crack more than she loves you."

  7. Yaya, I don't remember exactly. I think Pint was about 5, perhaps 6 when I finally just broke down and said Look. Your mom is not sick. she is addicted to something illegal and if she doesn't take it she gets sick. so she has to go out and buy more of it every day, and it takes up so much of her time and money that there is just nothing left. Soon she will get arrested because what she is doing is against the law.

    we did it in the counselor's office. it was after Pint had found needles.

    I dont' regret it. She is 11 now and understands what is really going on. Kids just are not dumb. They know something is really, REALLY wrong. Later Pint told me what a sense of relief she had to know what was actually going on, because her mom acted all weird and did weird things and she had no clue why.

    That's why I maintain, honestly, age appropriately is the best policy.

  8. Your 100% right. Its a hard truth to accept but its a fact. We all want our child to be the one that has the miraculous recovery because of jail/rehab/whatever. But even the "miraculous" recoverys are exactly what you are talking about here. Its all about when they are ready and sadly some never are.

    I think Anthony halfway through his 10 month sentence, so full of clarity and hope and so determined that "this time is different". But I am prepared for this time to be the same as all the rest. I hope its not, but I am prepared.

    Same with my son - as soon as probation is over he will have the freedom of choice again (he has it now but with a drug patch he can't avoid jail, makes the choice easier).

    Thanks for being real and honest and sharing your wisdom and experience.

  9. When I read your posts I think "The Voice of Reason"... I guess I could be the voice of emotion... Your post comes at a good time as a reminder, b/c lately I've just about given up worrying if the "government" or anyone else is going to do anything as there's always loopholes anyway. I can find myself saying "if only they would..." "You know what the problem is..." but I think the reason I've given up of late is just what you said - it all ends up with nothing is going to matter unless the person themselves wants sobriety. And no one else can make them.
    God bless.