Is jail or prison the right place for someone addicted to drugs?

Many Wisconsin residents turn to drugs to feel better, escape or fill a void in their lives. At some point, they may encounter law enforcement through a traffic stop or some other incident that results in an arrest and a drug charge.

The question that your criminal defense attorney will more than likely ask is whether you should spend time in jail or prison when obtaining help kicking your drug habit may be the bigger priority.

Perhaps you suffered an injury and became addicted to the medication prescribed to you by your doctor. Perhaps you made the mistake of trying a drug at a party, and now it controls you instead of you controlling it. Regardless of what led you to begin taking drugs, you might be eligible for the state's TAD project.

What are TADs?

TAD stands for Treatment Alternatives and Diversion program. You can enter a TAD through either the pre-trial model (before conviction) or the adult drug court model (after conviction).

  1. In the pre-trail TAD, the court or district attorney would agree not to prosecute you in exchange for your completion of the program. If you successfully fulfill the requirements of the program, the court will reduce or dismiss the charges against you. Failure to complete the program results in prosecution of the original charges.
  2. In the adult drug court model, the chance to avoid jail or prison time comes after your conviction. During the sentencing phase, the judge orders you to participate in appropriate treatment programs and other requirements in lieu of jail or prison time. Once again, successfully completing the requirements helps you avoid those penalties.

The goal is to reduce your chances of reoffending and to help you get your life back.

What do TADs entail?

Even though they occur at different stages of the criminal court process, TADs share certain common elements.

  • Everyone undergoes a needs and risk assessment. High-risk offenders who are more likely to reoffend obtain the most resources.
  • Everyone, including you, receives drug testing and monitoring in conjunction with substance abuse treatment.
  • Other services such as resume building, job training and parenting classes are made available to you depending on your needs and the terms you agreed to with the court or the prosecutor.

Internal mechanisms also exist to monitor how effective each component of the program is for you and the system.

How do I get into a TAD?

Your criminal defense attorney is invaluable in this area. He or she more than likely knows about this program. Discussions with prosecutors regarding your situation and what would be best for you and your community often begin right away. The sooner that your attorney makes the prosecutor and the court aware of your interest in a TAD, the greater the possibility that you might be able to participate in it and avoid jail or prison time.

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Eau Claire, WI 54701

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