Judge Grants Drug Addict His Prison Sentence Wish

By McCarton Ackerman 02/25/14

Christopher Harbourne will receive 32 months in prison in a last-ditch effort to get himself clean after a lifetime of addiction.

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A British drug addict who spent over $45,000 per year on his heroin and crack cocaine addiction had a judge grant his wish of a prison sentence as a last-resort attempt to get clean. Christopher Harbourne, 27, was sentenced to 32 months in jail after pleading guilty to robbing the home of his ex-girlfriend. His first burglary came at age 13 and he has racked up 18 pages of convictions ever since.

His attorney, Richard Gibbs, blamed Harbourne’s drug addiction for many of his previous offenses. “He was rattling. He’s been using large quantities of crack and heroin, between four and 16 bags a day,” said Gibbs. "He recognizes that addiction has led him to a range of offenses over a period of time. He sold a phone for £40 ($66 US) to a street dealer almost immediately." But Judge Alan Parker was less sympathetic to Harbourne’s “truly lamentable history,” telling him that “you have thieved your way through the last decade.”

Harbourne's case was reminiscent of a more famous incident involving Teen Mom star Amber Portwood. In June 2012, Portwood was sentenced to five years in prison after she told a judge she would prefer her original sentence over court-ordered drug rehab. Portwood had failed a drug test in December 2011 while on probation for possession of drugs, but told the judge she hated her mandatory drug rehab program and had been using throughout it. She also argued that she needed prison in order to truly get clean.

Although some initially suspected ulterior motives, Portwood was released from Rockville Correctional Facility in Indiana last December after serving just 17 months of her sentence. The early release was due to good behavior, time served, and the completion of two prison courses. Portwood also managed to get her GED while behind bars.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.