FOND DU LAC, Wis. (AP) — A growing number of drug addicts in Fond du Lac County are opting for more jail time over efforts to help them get clean, according to Circuit Court Judge Peter Grimm.
At issue is probation, in which a defendant can choose official monitoring over jail time, The Reporter in Fond du Lac reported. In juvenile cases, it can be forced upon them, allowing for an agent to oversee their progress in kicking the habit.
“In adult court, the defendants can actually decline probation, which we are seeing more of,” Grimm told the newspaper. “That’s concerning for me.”
Put simply, defendants are picking time behind bars instead of treatment, urine screenings and rules.
“It’s a concern because we are getting young offenders who come in and say, ‘I don’t want probation.’ That tells me they don’t want to change their drug lifestyle,” Grimm said.
Sheriff’s Deputy Mark Strand said those individuals serve longer sentences, but don’t have to go through monitoring when released.
“They wind up doing quite a bit of jail time, but at least when they are done, they are no longer on probation,” he said. “The phrase is, ‘I don’t want be on paper anymore.'”
Inmates will serve a full sentence and then be released with no monitoring, Strand said. “That’s not a harmonious outcome for anybody,” he said. “It’s not good for society or the inmate.”
Grimm said addiction often leads young adults to other crimes.
“We are seeing a lot of brazen robberies, burglaries and thefts,” the judge said. “They are desperate and out of control.” He urged family and friends to step in and help drug abusers.
Strand said addicts often are left to fight their habits on their own.
“In an ideal world, people’s loved ones should get involved and try to help,” the sheriff said. “A lot of times, these individuals don’t have stakeholders as in a family. A lot of times, the user has the attitude of ‘I’ll live for today and worry about tomorrow later.’ That’s not the way to go about life.”
Information from: The Reporter, http://www.fdlreporter.com