Teen Mom Opts for Jail Over Rehab

By McCarton Ackerman 06/06/12

Experts say Amber Portwood's decision to take five years' prison instead of treatment "will scar her for life."

Portwood claims she needs prison to get clean.
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We may have heard the last of Teen Mom's Amber Portwood for a while. The 22-year-old was sentenced to five years in prison after she asked the judge to impose her original sentence, stemming from a failed drug test last December while on probation for possession of drugs. Portwood could have gone to a long-term drug rehab instead, but told the judge she hated the program and had been using throughout it. Many experts are weighing in on her self-imposed sentence and say that—like in the case of Cameron Douglas—jail will ultimately do more harm than good. "Drugs, to begin with, will keep her a dependent victim. And prison, to end with, will scar her for life," says therapist Dr. Gilda Carle. The prison term also raises questions over the care of Portwood's three-year-old daughter. And while Portwood says she needs to be in jail in order to truly get clean, some suspect ulterior motives. “It is very sad that having a cute little girl to love isn’t enough to motivate Amber to get clean in a rehab facility, and that she asked to be put in prison instead," says Dr. Carole Lieberman, psychiatrist and author of Bad Girls: Why Men Love Them & How Good Girls Can Learn Their Secrets. "It almost seems as if she is doing this to avoid the responsibilities of motherhood.”

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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.