Shifting back into the community after being put behind bars is extremely challenging. It’s one of the hardest obstacles facing the addiction community in America today.
Here at the Northlake Recovery, we see this situation all the time. You spend a few years behind bars, and are discharged into a life that you have forgotten how to adjust to. Even though you engage in work release programs, which allow you to leave the prison system during the day to go to work, it still doesn’t help your transition back into the real world. It seems as if nothing can make this transformation any easier, especially if you have a history of drug or alcohol abuse.
Taking Care of an Immediate Demand
The transition technique is still one of the least established solutions the corrections system offers inmates. Nevertheless, some states are looking to change that, concentrating their energies on those who make up a large section of the prison populace: offenders with substance abuse and mental health disorders.
A new document, published by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), provides examples of the progression some districts have made using what’s called an APIC (Assess, Plan, Identify, Coordinate) model. Under the APIC model, corrections authorities take a more extensive, rehabilitative approach to those nearing release, which include:
Evaluating an Individual’s Clinical and Social Requirement
- Preparing for the treatment and services required to address an individual’s needs (both in custody and upon re-entry).
- Recognizing required community and correctional systems responsible for post-release solutions.
- Synchronizing the transition plan to guarantee utilization.
- Discovering Success with a New Technique.
Communities have adopted many techniques under this model, and the SAMHSA guide describes a few that have seen excellence. For example, the Gwinnett County Jail pinpoints housing, education, and employment needs, as well as treatment-related needs.
On the other hand, in Montgomery County, any behavioral health issue recognized by healthcare and corrections screeners gets an instant referral to a group of onsite therapists for a comprehensive evaluation.
In Hampden County, appointments with a state-employed peer mentor are arranged once an individual’s discharge date approaches. This mentor is responsible for presenting the inmate to solutions offered through community institutions in the western Massachusetts region, transporting him or her to consultations, and encouraging compliance with treatment programs. The county has also become an involved advocate of medication-assisted treatment; inmates are screened before discharge and get their first monthly injection of naltrexone before leaving custody.
” The missing piece at the beginning was making sure that the individuals were also getting counseling,” said Peter Babineau, a substance abuse instructor with the Hampden County Sheriff’s Department. “We now make sure that those receiving Vivitrol are assigned to a counseling agency.”.
Finding Added Support Is Still Essential
Two huge elements of an efficient switch are finding lucrative employment and a place to live, both of which are easier said than done if you have a criminal background. Nonetheless, that’s not all that’s needed. An inmate’s psychological needs also should be met; counseling, introductions to neighborhood organizations, and peer-mentor projects are all great ways to help people obtain a foundation back into the community.
The SAMHSA guide, then, takes a more detailed position on transitioning offenders by offering courses and services while they’re both behind bars and discharged. Given our nation’s extremely high relapse rate, this undoubtedly seems like a necessary step if we want to give people a fighting chance upon returning to the community.
Will intensive programs and services help recovering people who are leaving prison or jail and returning home? Should our nation invest more money in transitional programs? Here at the Northlake Recovery, we believe the solution begins at the source. Government agencies for years have been held unaccountable for the contribution to the addiction epidemic in America. With proper programs in place, the road to recovery can help make the transition as easy as possible for those who cannot afford proper insurance, or those without family support.
If you or someone you love is dealing with addiction in any form, call us toll free at (561)-770-6616. Our trained professionals are standing by 24/7.