Drugs & Crime Update- Feb 19th

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.