Should I Bail My Loved One Out of Jail?

Jail family visit

While working at Narconon, I have witnessed many parents and families calling to get their child or loved one into treatment. There are many different stories and circumstances, but one reoccurring story is their loved one was in jail, and they bailed them out, and now they don’t know what to do.

Jail is not an ideal place to have your child or loved one, but the harsh reality is it can be much safer than them being out on the street. The money you save not bailing them out may be better used to get them into treatment. We have seen families who paid thousands to tens of thousands of dollars to get private attorneys and make bond. Only to be unable to get their loved ones into quality treatment that would handle the behavior that got them put in jail in the first place.

Families think they are doing the right thing by getting them out of jail. Their intentions are pure, but this is not always the best way to go. I have spoken with many families in the past who have spent all their resources to simply get their loved ones out of jail. It is not a bad thing to get your loved one out of jail. It is bad when you spend all your resources and are back with your loved one, and they continue on the bad path they were already on.

Another scary thing about bailing someone out of jail is their tolerance to whatever drug they have been using has decreased depending on how long they were in jail. Many addicts do not realize that after an extended period of being sober (while in jail), they can no longer use the same amount they used before incarceration. This increases the chances of a fatal overdose. Working with the judge to get a bed-to-bed transfer to get them into treatment would be a better option.

When they get out of jail, you want to have a treatment center already picked and lined up for them to go to directly. Addiction has touched almost everyone’s lives, and many judges, probation officers, and attorneys understand. Your loved one’s judge may be willing to wave bond and court order your loved one into treatment. I have even seen some courts order a bed-to-bed transfer so that the person goes straight from jail into treatment. The key is you have to ask. The legal system isn’t going to act on its own, and having someone on the outside who cares enough to try to get them into treatment often makes what seems impossible possible.

Lining up a treatment center for your loved one to go to early is key. Many factors go into finding the right treatment center that will work for your loved one. Having them released to then research the best treatment option could take several days. And that is IF there is a bed available at that time. Why not have them get out of jail, then take them directly to treatment? Waiting gives them time to run away, overdose, or end up back in jail, and your time, money and efforts will have been wasted.

When people are in jail, they often spend their days thinking about the things they have done. At Narconon, people learn to take responsibility for their actions and learn from their mistakes. Not only do they learn life skills, but we work with them so they can improve the conditions of their life and learn the tools they need to stay sober. Most people who have been in jail for extended periods of time get out and do not have a plan or know what to do. Narconon gives people the tools to live successful, drug-free lives.

If you have a child or loved one in jail, work to find them a program that will work for them and be ready for them to go to once they are released. Another thing you could do is work with the judge to see if they can be released to treatment instead of sitting in jail. This way, they can work to change their life instead of sitting in jail. More than half of the people incarcerated who have a history of addiction end up relapsing within a month of their release. They end up going back to their old ways. Why not prevent it and send them to treatment? All you have to do is reach out for help. Jail is no ideal scene for anyone, but neither is addiction.



Alina Snowden

Originally from Kentucky, Alina decided after changing her life that she wanted to help others understand the dangers of addiction and help families know what to do if their loved one is struggling. She now writes articles to spread awareness and positivity about how those with addiction problems can turn their lives around.