The connection between substance abuse, psychological sickness, and incarceration is well-known to those that work day-to-day within the prison justice system.
A brand new program in Vigo County goals to assist inmates with twin diagnoses of psychological sickness and substance use keep out of jail and transfer in the direction of a secure and wholesome future.
Established by the work launch program on the Vigo County Neighborhood Corrections, the brand new therapeutic program accepts certified contributors leaving the Vigo County Jail.
Contributors will obtain acceptable counseling and psychological well being therapy whereas residing within the office. Social employees will assist folks enroll with neighborhood therapy businesses just like the Hamilton Heart and Wabash Valley Well being Heart, apply for housing, and comply with court-ordered directions.
“This program is filling the hole between us and our neighborhood companions,” mentioned Invoice Watson, Vigo County Director of Judicial Providers. “Typically occasions, issues get overwhelming for these folks after they attempt to do the numerous issues the courtroom desires them to do, like join drug counseling and therapy and probation. So now we have social employees who will help them undergo the method. “
Chief Choose Michael Lewis of Vigo Superior Courtroom 6 mentioned the brand new program is sensible as a part of Indiana’s Penal Rule 26, which went into impact in 2020 as an evidence-based apply to free non-violent offenders from the jail to be supervised whereas awaiting courtroom. dates.
Incarcerated folks typically have undiagnosed psychological diseases or, if they’re in therapy when they’re arrested, they lose entry to their drugs whereas in jail.
Lewis recalled circumstances through which inmates with psychological sickness had been despatched to a state hospital for therapy and to be competent for trial. However shortly after returning to the county jail, he mentioned, in the event that they now not obtain the prescribed drugs, they could once more be incompetent to assist in their very own protection.
A number of counties have already got related therapy applications, Lewis mentioned.
“We have been speaking about doing it for 5 to seven years,” Lewis mentioned. “Each day we combat jail overcrowding. We simply have to present these folks the medication they want. “
Vigo Councilor Aaron Loudermilk has lengthy supported a therapeutic program. A metropolis police officer, he has served on the native boards of Psychological Well being America and the Hamilton Heart, so he was conscious of the challenges for folks with psychological sickness who had been additionally charged with prison offenses.
Shortly after being elected to the county council, Loudermilk mentioned, discussions with county commissioners checked out the potential for a diversion middle to serve certified people.
“However that by no means acquired wherever,” Loudermilk mentioned of the discussions.
In 2018, throughout his second 12 months as chairman of the council, Loudermilk mentioned he tried to reintroduce the diversion middle mission. After a number of conferences and a go to to a facility close to Chicago, no motion was but being taken, and by 2019, momentum was misplaced, he mentioned.
However Watson saved the dialog going by discussing what a therapeutic work launch program would appear to be if it had been positioned within the current neighborhood correctional facility.
Watson’s proposal offered to the council was priced at $ 500,000. The council in the end authorized $ 525,238.
“It is an excellent funding,” Loudermilk mentioned, “however I feel it is actually an excellent concept and an method to serving to folks in the neighborhood.”
A part of this system includes getting folks in jail screened in a extra agile manner to allow them to be recognized for this system and get the drugs they want sooner.
Many of the funding will go to contract companies. The county will contract for psychiatric companies and a forensic nurse to verify contributors get the companies they want, akin to drugs and counseling. A case supervisor will work with these folks in this system. A licensed social employee will assist contributors settle in the neighborhood.
“I feel that is hopefully a greater option to get the companies that they want,” Loudermilk mentioned.
The longer term purpose is to have secure and supportive housing in the neighborhood with the collaboration of different businesses.
Watson mentioned this system continues to be out there at work, however with extra companies for these with twin diagnoses.
The neighborhood corrections constructing, positioned close to the county courthouse, has area to accommodate contributors.
Resident capability within the constructing is 80, Watson mentioned, however as of the primary day of the 12 months solely 40 to 45 had been free to work.
In March 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, everybody within the work launch program was positioned in house detention with monitoring as a result of workers didn’t have the right private protecting gear or disinfectants for the constructing.
Nevertheless, by August, the work launch was again in motion on the neighborhood corrections constructing, which receives funding from the Indiana Division of Correction and can’t be used as an overflow for the county jail throughout the inmate census. .
Watson congratulates the county council for seeing the worth of the brand new therapeutic therapy program, particularly Loudermilk and former council member Mike Morris, who not too long ago turned a county commissioner.
“The council made an excellent dedication to the dual-diagnosis inhabitants,” Watson mentioned.
Morris mentioned he’s enthusiastic about this system, as are the county judges.
“It had good help from our council and good help on the state degree, and I’m assured in our talents to implement it,” Watson mentioned.
Decreasing the quantity of people that reoffend and find yourself in jail after launch is sweet purpose for the trouble, he mentioned.
“We put some huge cash into it,” Morris mentioned of the finances. “The probabilities of getting that cash again from people who find themselves not in jail are fairly good, and that is actually our purpose, to maintain a few of these folks out of jail.”
Choose Lewis agreed.
The brand new county jail now below building can have extra capability than the present restrict of 268 inmates, however Lewis mentioned the purpose is to maintain the inmate inhabitants on the identical degree as soon as the brand new jail opens.
The therapeutic work launch program will assist to realize this.