Bartholomew County Jail to begin new addiction treatment program

Bartholomew County is trying to stop the cycle with a new program to battle opioids behind bars. (WTHR)
Bartholomew County Jail Drug Treatment
Fighting addiction behind bars
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BARTHOLOMEW COUNTY, Ind. (WTHR) — The Bartholomew County Jail has a new plan to battle Indiana's ongoing problem of drug addiction.

They're advertising for a new position — Jail Addiction Treatment Program Coordinator.

That person will work to break a cycle so many communities are dealing with: addiction, arrest, jail, repeat.

By late winter, getting locked up may help inmates break free of drug addiction in Bartholomew County.

That's when a brand new program will launch to win that drug battle behind bars.

"We can either keep building prisons or keep building bigger jails, or we can actually try to treat some people for their addictions and hopefully they don't come back here," said Chief Deputy Chris Lane.

Lane says more than 90 percent of their 260 or so inmates are dealing with some form of addiction, so getting them treatment on the inside made sense.

The jail staff studied the issue for months, visiting other jail programs and analyzing their own data.

A job search is now underway to find a counselor/coordinator to lead the program.

"We're searching high and low for that perfect person," Lane said. "That person that wants to be stepping into a job that they want to help design a program that they can attach themselves to. They're not coming into an established program. They're gonna help build this program."

It's going to be a program based on a hybrid of what's worked at three other Indiana jails they visited: Morgan, Monroe and Dearborn counties.

13 Investigates has also visited the RSAP in Morgan County.

That's where inmates have a 72 percent success rate of getting and staying sober. Drug use stops. Crimes do, too.

Like Morgan County, Bartholomew plans to use job skills and parenting classes besides addiction therapy.

They hope to get ten women and 10 men, who meet specific criteria, put in segregated cells for at least 90 days of treatment.

"It's a regimented schedule and this is what they do from the time they get up to the time they go to bed," Lane said.

And it's all in hopes that lives get saved.

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