Massachusetts Court Rules Judge Can Send Defendants to Jail for Drug Relapse

A judge can require defendants with substance use disorders to stay off drugs as a condition of probation, and send them to jail if they relapse, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled this week.

The defense argued addiction is a chronic relapsing brain disease that compromises a person’s ability to remain drug free, The New York Times reports. The prosecution argued addiction varies in intensity, and many people can overcome it. People can be influenced by penalties and rewards, such as incarceration or a cleared criminal record, prosecuting lawyers said.

One of the defense lawyers, Lisa Newman-Polk, called the court’s decision a “massive blow.” She said the court had “rubber-stamped the status quo, dysfunctional way in which our criminal justice system treats people suffering from addiction.”

Staying on the Road to Recovery Following Treatment

The end of substance use treatment is just the beginning of the road to recovery. Your child will need your help and support to get there.

continuing care after rehab addiction treatment

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