West Virginia opens first in-jail drug treatment for inmates

Published: Apr. 11, 2016 at 11:44 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- West Virginia is launching its first inpatient treatment program in a regional jail, in an attempt to break the cycle of drug addiction and crime.

The 28-bed Residential Substance Abuse Treatment unit opened Monday at the Southwestern Regional Jail in Logan County for male inmates who have been sentenced to the Division of Corrections (DOC).

“This 28-bed treatment unit will provide a badly needed tool to assist inmates with substance abuse addictions prepare for their eventual return to society, and hopefully serve as a blueprint for additional jail-based units in the near future,” said Commissioner of Corrections Jim Rubenstein. “Executive Director (David) Farmer and his staff have worked closely with Division of Corrections staff to make this unit a reality. These offenders are being provided with the opportunity to make a positive change in their lives, the lives of their families and loved ones and their communities.”

The DOC operates units at nine of its facilities, totaling 507 beds.

Each RSAT unit offers intensive, six to 12-month inpatient treatment to offenders with a verified substance abuse history. These residential units draw from the Therapeutic Community model, a structured, group-based approach that stresses individual participation and social interaction.

The DOC says the new unit recognizes there are inmates who have been sentenced to custody, but who are serving parts of the sentences in the separately regional jail system.

“This will greatly accelerate their ability to begin the crucial journey of recovery and rehabilitation that can, it is hoped, restore them to a productive and healthy life outside the correctional setting,” said Executive Director David Farmer of the Regional Jail and Correctional Facility Authority (RJA). “Being able to begin treatment earlier will also allow them to hasten their eligibility for parole, thus addressing both the needs of inmates and their families and the issue of overcrowding.”

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