Criminal defense attorney J. Tooson tells PEOPLE that Douglas will be on "a short leash" during his post-prison probationary period
“One of the primary requirements or him is going to be mandatory drug testing,” criminal defense attorney J. Tooson tells PEOPLE. “If he does test positive he would be subjected to additional jail time. He’s going to be subject to search and seizure, and when he gets out of the halfway house, to check in with his federal probation officer and notify him of his residence, [which] they can search at any given time.”
Douglas, 37, was sentenced to a five year prison term for possession of heroin and selling methamphetamine in 2010, but that sentence was extended after he confessed to smuggling drugs into prison and he spent two years in solitary confinement at Maryland’s Cumberland Federal Corrections Institute. He had been scheduled for release in 2018, but is now living in a halfway house in Brooklyn, New York.
Tooson says other restrictions include not being able to own or possess any firearms, notifying his probation officer of his address at all times and avoiding any criminal activity.
“He’s going to be on a short leash,” adds Tooson. “Although technically he is done [with his prison sentence], if there are any violations, including positive drug tests or failed tests – meaning he misses the test, he’s subject to go back to prison.
“He simply can’t go off the radar and do his own thing without being closely monitored,” Tooson continues. “Certainly he is not going to be allowed to be residing or affiliating or associating with other convicted felons, they are really going to be monitoring to make sure he’s staying on the up and up.”
Tooson estimates the first two years of Douglas’ five-year probationary period will be the most difficult for the recovering addict.
“When you are a drug addict, and the majority of your life has been plagued by battling with drugs, that can seem like an eternity to remain clean without getting violated,” explains Tooson. “After being incarcerated and in the halfway house for such a long period of time re-acclimating to society and being a free citizen I think is going to be extremely rough. The benefit for him is that he’s going to have a huge support system that most individuals in that situation do not have in his father and family around him.”
Douglas’ friend Noel Ashman told the New York Post that Douglas’ drug problems are in the past and that in addition to hiring an acting coach to get back into acting, his friend is starting a charity to help other drug addicts.
“The whole experience taught him how important time is,” said Ashman. “He doesn’t want to waste any more of it.”
Tooson notes that Douglas’ story is all too familiar – and one that requires a deeper understanding and treatment of addiction.
“When we criminalize addiction we don’t do anything to remove the problem that led to it,” he says. “I think people have to understand that he’s human and when you battle these addictions, oftentimes you will stumble along the way. Each and every time an individual stumbles, we give them more jail time, more prison, it does nothing to address the underlying issue.”