Many parents adopt the “tough love” approach when their teens enter the justice system after an arrest on drug charges. For example, they may feel their child will only learn a lesson by living with the consequences of their actions.
Tough love may help in some circumstances, but not when your child is facing a drug conviction in Texas. A possible penalty is confinement, which may cause even more problems for your teenager.
Does incarceration harm juveniles?
According to experts, incarceration fails to address any potential underlying causes of substance use and illegal drug activity. Addiction, mental health conditions, childhood trauma and other factors often lead youths to engage in unlawful conduct.
The teen may pay the legal penalty imposed upon them if convicted, but that will not help them cope with their other issues.
Other potential effects of confinement include:
- Possible exposure to physical and sexual abuse and violence, which may increase the risk of depression, anxiety disorders and suicide
- Separating youths from family and community, which often results in additional stress, loneliness and feelings of isolation
- A possible increase in the likelihood of recidivism and adult incarceration
Further, a criminal record can limit your teen’s opportunities for education, employment, housing and healthy life experiences.
It’s okay to protect your child
Working to keep your teen out of incarceration does not mean they will get a free ride and come away having learned nothing. With legal guidance, you can find other options, such as a drug diversion program, that can teach them accountability without putting them in a correctional facility.