Vanderburgh Co. prosecutor, sheriff learning about jail substance-abuse program

Vanderburgh Co. prosecutor, sheriff learning about jail substance-abuse program

EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - Representatives from Dearborn Co., IN traveled to Evansville Monday to talk about a substance-abuse program that has proven successful for hundreds of inmates.

The Jail Chemical Addiction Program (JCAP) has slashed the number of repeat drug abuse offenders in Dearborn Co. by more than half.

At Monday's meeting, the Office of the Attorney General invited prosecutors, sheriffs and other officials from counties in the region to attend and learn how to implement a similar program in their counties.

Kate O'Rourke attend and talked with leaders in Vanderburgh Co. about what a similar program could look like at the Vanderburgh Co. Jail.

Inmates currently participating in Dearborn Co.'s JCAP, a graduate of the program, and officials involved with administering it also shared their experiences.

JCAP graduate Alec says, "We actually have a jail in our town that is literally producing people that go back out in our society that are productive."

For 22 year old Kody from Batesville, IN, his drug abuse started with marijuana when he was 10. It led to pain pills, and then heroin.

"At the age of 15 I was introduced to heroin, and little did I know my life was about to completely spiral in a downward," says Kody.

He overdosed for the first time when he was 20. Just a few months later, he overdosed again.

"I knew immediately I had to do something about my addiction. It's crazy. My life's not going anywhere. I don't know what to do about it," says Kody.

That is where JCAP came in.

"I applied for it, and it was a true blessing to get in there," says Kody.

The Dearborn County Jail Chemical Addiction Program serves men and women who struggle from addiction issues. It provides a minimum of 90 days to focus on oneself. The program is based on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy taught by masters-level social workers.

"Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is basically changing the way that people thought processes and how they deal with things emotionally," says Dearborn County Director of Court Services Steve Kelley.

JCAP includes Group and individual counseling, substance abuse meetings, daily exercise, and ongoing support from a group that becomes like family.

"That's what JCAP did. They taught me how to process life," says Alec.

It is cost-effective, too. A general population inmate costs $55. A JCAP inmate costs just $14.

Dearborn Co. data shows that about 18 percent of JCAP graduates reoffend, compared to 43 percent of inmates in Dearborn Co., and 38 percent of inmates in Indiana.

These numbers show in the success stories of recovering addicts.

"I didn't know what was about to become of it, but it was the most life changing thing, and I'm truly blessed to have been a part of it and still be a part of it," says Kody.

A key component that makes JCAP successful is that the recovering addicts are separated from the general population inmates. We are told the Vanderburgh Co. Jail is not equipped with a separate space for a similar program right now, but it could be incorporated into the plans to bring the jail up to compliance with state standards.

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