Delaware County Commissioners voted to extend the contract for inmate outpatient treatment services at the Delaware County Jail at its meeting on Monday
Therapists from Recovery and Prevention Resources of Delaware and Morrow Counties Inc. (RPR) will continue to provide the services through the year for $21,666.60, “with two additional one-year renewable periods as annually approved by both parties,” states the journal issued following the meeting.
The treatment provider will assist inmates with substance abuse issues, said Kassie Neff, program coordinator at the jail.
“Another benefit of having a local provider come into the jail is that a relationship is established between the client and their counselor, and also to become an open client,” Neff said. “If they so choose to continue with recovery upon their release, the treatment continues.”
Gaps in treatment can thus be avoided, she said, because the appointments are scheduled while the client is still incarcerated.
“This program gives us 10 hours of substance abuse groups for men and women, as well as assessment and intake outside of the 10 hours,” Neff said.
The program is in line with the Delaware General Health District’s “Community Health Improvement Plan” and the Stepping Up National Initiative to reduce the number of mentally ill persons in jails, Neff said.
Two million adults with mental illnesses, such as bipolar disorder, depression and schizophrenia, are admitted to U.S. jails annually. The Delaware County Jail’s 2014 re-entry survey found that more than 50 percent of inmates had a serious mental illness, which is 10 times the rate of the general population.
The county received federal funds to start the offender re-entry program in 2012, but the funding expired in 2014 and a new jail recovery re-entry program was formed. In 2015, 168 people were screened and 49 people were admitted.
In response to a question by commissioners, Neff said more than 80 percent of inmates said they had problems with substance abuse in a survey conducted in 2014, 8.5 times the rate for the general population. “In my opinion, it’s much higher,” she said.
Of those with a substance abuse disorder, opiates such as heroin was the most commonly reported.
“Referral to the (RPR) program can be done at the earliest stages of a person’s involvement in the criminal justice system by non-clinical personnel, including law enforcement and first responders, jail and court staff, judges and attorneys,” Neff said in an email after the meeting. “Program participation can be court-ordered or voluntary. There is no cost to inmates for these services.”
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.