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Alternative sentencing for Washington drug offenders

There has been a great deal of progress in the United States when it comes to more ethical drug offender sentencing. The state of Washington is one of the most progressive when it comes to this, and their Residential Drug Offender Sentencing Alternative is seen as something that other states should try and imitate.

The program means that a person who has received a felony in relation to substance abuse problems may be able to avoid imprisonment if he or she is able to successfully complete a rehabilitation program. The program has shown that it is possible to reduce drug offenses by tackling the root cause: addiction.

How does the alternative sentencing program work?

The Drug Offender Sentencing Alternative (DOSA) gives offenders the possibility to recover from their addiction and avoid imprisonment. However, it is only offered to certain offenders. Those who have been convicted of a sex or violent offense in the last 10 years, have previously had a DOSA sentence in the last 10 years or have an enhanced sentence will not be eligible. DOSA sentences are only available to those who show the potential to commit themselves to recovery.

What activities are included in the program?

All participants must engage in the program for a minimum of 90 days. They must also commit to frequent urine tests and to completing the treatment, otherwise they will face jail time.

If you have been convicted of a drug offense and you would like to qualify for an alternative sentence, it is important to conduct research so that you will know if you are eligible.

Source: Crime Solutions, "Program Profile: Washington State’s Residential Drug Offender Sentencing Alternative," accessed March 01, 2018

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