Court: Staying Drug Free Can be Condition of Probation

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BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts’ highest court has upheld the authority of judges to order people with addiction to stay drug free as a condition of probation.

In Monday’s unanimous decision, the Supreme Judicial Court said Julie Eldred’s constitutional rights were not violated when she was jailed for 10 days in 2016 for using drugs while on probation for larceny.

Eldred’s lawyer argued in the closely-watched case that jailing people with substance use disorder for failing to stay clean on probation unfairly punishes them for something beyond their control.

The justices disagreed, calling the actions of the lower court and probation department “exemplary.”

The state attorney general’s office urged the court to uphold the drug-free probation requirement, saying it can help people recover and reduce incarceration rates.

Eldred’s attorney didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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