In New Jersey, offenders who have committed nonviolent and/or drug-related offenses are eligible for a program called Pre-Trial Intervention. Called PTI for short, the program offers an alternative to the incarceration that is traditionally used as a sentence. Alternatives can include a range of rehabilitative services depending on the nature of the offense, and if addiction is an underlying disorder, then addiction treatment may be an option.
The goal of the Pre-Trial Intervention program is to assist the person in getting back on track and avoiding future incidences of criminal behavior. Additionally, if the person is successful in completing the PTI program, then there will be no record of the conviction at all.
In one recent case in Salem County, Alfred W. Coursey III made a request to the court that he be allowed to enter the Pre-Trial Intervention program after being convicted of cocaine possession and marijuana possession with intent to distribute. Coursey claims that his possession of the substances was due to an ongoing substance use disorder and that he would benefit from treatment for the problem. The distribution charges, however, disqualify him and other applicants from being eligible for the program.
The court, however, ruled that Coursey would have the opportunity to prove that he was dependent on drugs at the time of his arrest and potentially be reconsidered for the PTI program.
Benefits of PTI Programs
New Jersey’s Pre-Trial Intervention program offers those who qualify an excellent opportunity to get the treatment they need to manage the legal problems they face due to choices made under the influence and other issues faced as well. Treatment allows for:
- The immediate cessation of use of all substances
- Accountability for ongoing drug abstinence with drug tests
- An instant support network of peers and staff members
- Treatment for co-occurring mental health disorders
- Tools to stabilize quickly in recovery
- Coping mechanisms to manage ongoing symptoms and cravings
- Long-term support for ongoing sobriety in recovery
With a structured treatment program in place that provides continuous care and treatment, support for long-term health and recovery, and access to resources that provide for stable living and working, PTI programs have the potential to change lives, alter family structures positively, and improve the community at large.
Potential Pitfalls of PTI Programs
As with any government-run program, there is always a chance that certain things will fall through the cracks. There are those who would manipulate the system in order to stay out of jail and continue to commit crimes that harm the community. There are people who may abuse their position of power to exclude those who need help and/or allow others to avoid the consequences of poor choices made while in the program. Funding may not always be enough to cover the best possible treatment for each individual who enters the program. But ultimately, the potential pitfalls do not outweigh the very real benefits, both to the individual and to the community at large, and taxpayers will be happy to note that the costs to run a drug court program like New Jersey’s PTI program are far less than the costs to incarcerate people for nonviolent drug-related offenses.
Personal Responsibility Can Start Now
If you, or someone you love, are struggling with a substance use disorder, and the writing is on the wall in terms of the potential legal and other consequences of that disorder, it is possible to avoid dealing with the court system on the issue at all. Connecting with comprehensive drug addiction treatment that meets your needs on your terms can happen today.
At Sunrise House, we are available to discuss with you what treatment services and programs will best suit your needs and the needs of the entire family. Recovery can be a long process, and we offer a 90-day program to assist you in stabilizing in recovery as well as a complimentary 30-day return should you find that you need more assistance with the transition into independent sober living. Call now for more information.
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