County seeks state funding for drug treatment services in jail

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 7 March 2018 at 8:27 am

ALBION – The Orleans County Legislature is seeking state funding for drug treatment services and a transition program in the county jail.

Those services would reduce the likelihood of people committing new crimes when they are released, county legislators said last week when they sought funding from the State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services.

Many of the inmates in the county jail are addicted to drugs, and those addictions lead to other criminal behavior, including larcenies, burglaries, domestic violence, driving while intoxicated and other crimes. Legislators said about 80 percent of the crimes for people in jails state-wide can be linked to drug use.

The state is funding community-based treatment programs for individuals and their families in recovery. However, county legislators said there “remains a significant gap in the treatment and support of continuum care” in the local jails.

Providing services in the jail is a “unique opportunity” when inmates are clean and sober, legislators said.

In addition to having services in the jail, the county wants to develop a comprehensive re-entry plan and transition program for inmates with addictions. That would greatly reduce the possibility of those people from reusing drugs, overdosing or committing new crimes, legislators said.

Counties in New York are asking the state to approve $12.8 million annually for the programs in jails.

The resolution approved by the Legislature is being sent to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, State Sen. Robert Ortt, and Assembly members Steve Hawley and Michael Norris.

Sheriff Randy Bower also said he has a team of trained recovery coaches who will also help inmates as they transition from the jail back to the community. Those coaches will help people with addictions attend their treatment programs and spend time “with the right people,” Bower said.

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