Crime and Drugs Initiative Update
February 19th, 2015
At our January 15th meeting, the research committee narrowed in on a problem statement for our focus:
The Problem: 3,150 inmates struggle with substance abuse in our regional jail each year. A majority of inmates who are women are survivors of sexual assault or domestic violence.
What that means for our initiative: We have the opportunity to address this problem in the jail, during sentencing, and in the community (especially during re-entry). Our question is: what is the most effective place, and what is the most effective method of treatment for this population?
In the past month we have learned:
- Important elements of treatment:
- Treatment that keeps the individual’s support system intact
- Treatment that is holistic- addressing substance abuse and trauma such as sexual assault or abuse
- In Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional jail
- How jail treatment helps reduce the number of individuals (who are in jail) with substance abuse: If programs in the jail are effective, they can provide treatment so that individuals do not return again.
- The jail currently has:
- Some of the opportunities in jail include Therapeutic Community, AA/NA, and Celebrate Recovery
- We have a Therapeutic Community (TC) in our jail, which is a 12-month “value-based behavioral modification treatment. TC focuses on the elimination of antisocial behavior and attitudes and the acquisition of a more prosocial lifestyle”.
- The average length of stay in the jail is 5 months
- Last year the TC served 114 individuals- there are 24 spaces for men, with an approximate waiting list of 20 at a time
- The TC for women is currently suspended and has never had a firm footing. This is due in part to a low census of women and lack of motivation to participate.
- Areas to explore
- Best practices for in-jail treatment
- In sentencing
- How options during sentencing can help reduce the number of individuals (who are in jail) with substance abuse: Changes in sentencing options can divert individuals from jail and give them opportunities for community-based care or treatment. In addition, diversion programs can help reduce recidivism and are often a cheaper alternative to jail.
- During sentencing our community currently has:
- We currently have Adult Drug Court, which served only 113 individuals last year. This program is consistent with the rest of the state- 50% of individuals complete the program.
- Recidivism among drug court graduates is 11%, as compared to the 71% for the greater population.
- Sentencing can be an opportunity for motivation to take part in jail-based programs by shortening sentences if they participate
- Areas to explore
- Effective diversion programs
- In the community (after re-entry)
- How treatment in the community can help reduce the number of individuals (who are in jail) with substance abuse: Re-entry programs in the community can help ex-offenders stay out of prison; they can also provide options for individuals who need help before they come into contact with law enforcement
- Our community currently has the following programs:
- Peer support programs such as Celebrate Recovery Outside and AA/NA: During re-entry former inmates can continue their treatment with Celebrate Recovery, a Christian based program, along with AA/NA
- OAR Re-entry Program: Reduces barriers to successful reintegration into the community. 2014 OAR’s Re-entry program led all Virginia programs
- District #9 Probation and Parole: Can make substance abuse treatment as terms of parole. This treatment is outsourced by a contractor but no real tracking of success
- Region Ten Outpatient care: The bulk of Region Ten’s treatments. Provides individual and group therapy, peer support groups and case management
- Private clinics: out of pocket only, don’t accept Medicaid or insurance
- The Mohr Center: Men’s voluntary inpatient program that is often full and considered inadequate by numerous institutions
- Areas to explore
- Inpatient treatment and transitional housing
During the next month
- Research specifics of best practices- Now that we have narrowed our focus to in the jail, during sentencing, and in the community, we will be asking for more specific information about evidence-based practices and programs.
- Decide on our specific issue cut- When we come together on March 19th at the next research committee meeting, our goal will be to determine what we will recommend to address the problem we have identified.