The TRUTH about rehab and JAIL…aka LOHAN


Much has been written about the recent court order that was allegedly sending Lindsay Lohan to “lockdown” rehab instead of jail. Of course there is NO such thing. That is called the PSYCH ward and many people go there before residential treatment for detox and evaluation.

The courts often confuse mental illness and drug addiction. In addition, our court system is not geared towards treating those with mental illness. In many cases a DUI class or diversion is ordered. In the case last year of actor Johnny Lewis, rehab was ordered even though many of us knew he had no drug problem, and in fact was sober at the time of his death.

Now we have every “expert” talking about the sentence of Lindsay Lohan. There are even reports that she wants to stay on the drug Adderall while in treatment. What people are failing to understand is that it is common procedure to stay on any medication that the treating psychiatrist deems necessary and helpful. SOBER does not mean without medication. Thus, many people need psych meds, and a quality program will allow these.

The term lockdown rehab can and does mean many things. What is key in alternative sentencing cases is that the person receive the help and treatment they need while obeying the court order. This is usually accomplished by following the rules of the treatment center and the treating psychiatrist. In the Lohan case she will need to go to a facility that is strict enough to obey court orders and not a typical Hollywood rehab where money talks. Most quality rehabs or residential treatment centers will have house rules that can be modified for court orders. This is common procedure.

SO, to all of the “experts” this is how it works. Now the key is to get courts onboard to address the psychosocial issues that come with drugs and crime. This is where education matters and standard AA and diversion fails. Without a synergy between mental health treatment and addiction treatment, people will keep the cycle of arrests, rehab and jail. Let’s hope the Lohan case draws attention to how our system needs to improve.

Wendy Feldman is a criminal justice expert, crisis manager and family legal coach. She is available for private consultation on how to prepare for a successful incarceration, probation and re-entry. She is also available for media commentary and has appeared on shows from The Today Show, The CBS Early Show, E! News,, Fox News, NBC News, CNN, NPR and Nancy Grace. She is a weekly featured guest on the syndicated America Now radio program. She may be reached at

Follow @thewendyfeldman



1 Comment

Filed under Adderall, alternatvive sentencing, Lisa Bloom

One response to “The TRUTH about rehab and JAIL…aka LOHAN

  1. “If” courts acknowledge mental illness, where will the funds come from for the additional psychological/psychiatric treatment programs that are needed? Therapy can go on for years, and even then there needs to be follow up maintenance. I’m pro-therapy, but sadly the judicial system revolves around the almighty $$. Grants are possible, but is that enough?

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