Addiction affects the addict, but also family members of the addict, and many family relationships are the first casualties of alcohol or drug abuse. Some families enable the addiction, some dysfunctional family relationships contribute to the development of the addiction. If left unaddressed, these dynamics can undermine recovery. Because addiction involves and touches everyone in a family, at Pax House we have family groups that integrate loved ones into the treatment process.
Legal advocacy is a service that includes presenting or arguing another’s case to various officials, providing legal advice, legal counseling, or pleading another’s case in court. Legal advocacy is not a full legal service, and advocates do not act as attorneys to our clients. However, they do provide assistance and support to clients as they go through the court processes. They may attend court on the behalf of an addict to plead a case and provide evidence of their undergoing a treatment program. They take away much of the stress and pressure of a legal case, because they work alongside the client as he or she navigates the court system. Their purpose is to fight for the client to remain in treatment, and to use their rehabilitation as part of the defense to potentially secure a lighter sentence.
Legal advocates will often work with attorneys, public defenders, district attorneys, probation and parole officers, and law enforcement professionals to ensure that clients will be able to remain in recovery while negotiating their court case, and even have their treatment work towards their sentence, depending on the situation. Advocates often work alongside defense attorneys or public defenders to develop a defense strategy integrating the client’s treatment. They can prove invaluable, especially in those instances where a client has been assigned an over-worked public defender who is not able to give their case the time and attention needed to ensure their best interests.
The legal advocacy program at Pax House is available to our clients in our rehab programs to assist those who face legal trouble. Our legal advocates attend court with our clients to plead their case and represent a program of treatment and rehabilitation as the best alternative to prison. We provide court reports if required, including progress letters and drug or alcohol testing. We work with our clients and their families to access other legal services when appropriate or applicable. Our legal advocates work hard to help our clients navigate the legal system so that they can remain in treatment and have a better chance of receiving the help they need to overcome their addiction and become contributors to society.