County Jail now offering more services for inmates fighting addiction

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 7 March 2019 at 10:29 am

Photo by Tom Rivers: Scott Wilson, superintendent of the Orleans County Jail, praised the partnership with GCASA for expanded services for inmates.

ALBION – Orleans County has received a three-year grant from the state to expand services in the jail for inmates fighting addiction.

Scott Wilson, the jail superintendent, shared the news on Wednesday with the Orleans United Drug Free Communities Coalition. The “Access Matters” grant will pay for a part-time clinical social worker and a part-time peer recovery advocate.

The jail currently provides Vivitrol to some inmates who are to be released within a month. Vivitrol blocks drug cravings.

The jail will expand its Medication Assisted Treatment to include methadone, a daily dose of opioid maintenance therapy; and also Sublocade, a form of Suboxone in opioid maintenance therapy.

The Access Matters grant will fund a nurse to administer the treatments and medications on the weekends.

Wilson said the goal is to improve the chances for inmates to succeed and stay drug-free as they transition from the jail to the community. Inmates in the program will all be released within 120 days of starting the treatments.

“It’s a voluntary program,” Wilson said. “It’s not court-ordered. We want to make sure the people who want to get clean get the help that they need. We’re hoping to get them on the road to recovery.”

Genesee and Wyoming counties also received Access Matters grants. The three rural counties will meet frequently to share the program’s successes and challenges.

“We want to reduce recidivism,” Wilson said. “Because you’re seeing the same people come in time after time.”

The Orleans County Sheriff’s Office also will strive for a good handoff for the inmates being released to treatment programs through the Genesee-Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, Wilson said.

The Access Matters grant also will fund transportation and childcare services for people in treatment, said Alyse Shamp, grant coordinator for GCASA.

Transportation and childcare can be barriers to treatment. If the treatment is disrupted, people are more likely to relapse, she said at Wednesday’s coalition meeting at Hoag Library.

GCASA has purchased two vans to transport people to GCASA sites in Genesee and Orleans counties, including the methadone clinic in Batavia. The grant also pays for drivers for the program.

“We want to keep their recovery on track,” Shamp said.

GCASA also has a contract with the Eagle Pride childcare program at the Albion Middle School, which is run by the YMCA. GCASA is looking to staff its own childcare site in Batavia.

If people released from the jail can stay off drugs, Wilson said that should result in less crime in the community and a smaller jail population, saving taxpayer money.

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