(BEDFORD) - The Lawrence County Jail has been chosen to participate in a state pilot project called Recovery Works Jail ReEntry Program.
The goal of the program is to connect offenders to services they need to be successful.
"Prioritizing resources for those nearing release, and encouraging community-based aftercare will ensure better outcomes for people released from the jail," says Sheriff Branham.
The targeted population will be inmates to be released within 90 days, however resources will be made available to anyone who is to be released in less than 90 days, based on need. Continued treatment can be added to release expectations or ordered by the judge reducing the likelihood of relapse or recidivism.
Inmates participating in the program will be house in the same section of the jail. All programs will be open ended. Group skills and skill development groups will be evidence based and treatment access will be offered daily.
Post-release, those that participated in the program will be eligible for recovery and employment coaching.
Recovery Works follows sweeping changes to Indiana's criminal code which took effect last year that are sending more low-level, nonviolent felony criminals to community corrections and jails.
That's thousands of people who will no longer go to prison but will be supervised in the community. And so the discussion became 'What do we do with them?'" said Kevin Moore, the director of the FSSA's Division of Mental Health and Addiction, which is administering the Recovery Works program.
Based on a snapshot of the Lawrence County Jail population on Nov. 3, 2016, 73 percent of the 137 inmates in the jail at that time had either a substance related offense or known mental health diagnosis. More than 90 percent of those inmates had either a current felony charge or a prior felony conviction or both.
"There is a prevailing need for a partnership between the criminal justice system and mental health and addiction service providers in order to reduce recidivism and encourage recovery and that is what we have with Centerstone," Sheriff Branham added.
By tackling mental health and substance addiction issues in Lawrence County, Sheriff Branham and Centerstone officials are hoping to advance recovery and transition offenders back into the community to live healthier, successful lives, rather than returning to the criminal justice system.
Officials hope to serve 24 men and 8 women in the first six months of the program and an additional 24 men and 8 women in the second and subsequent six months.
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