Congresswoman Jackie Walorski is “shocked” by the approach being used to treat drug addiction in Starke County.
The House of Representatives convenes next week, giving the 2nd District Republican an opportunity to probe Starke County’s Therapeutic Community. The program – sought after learning Starke County reports high levels of drug use and production per capita – is designed to give inmates addicted to drugs an opportunity to receive treatment and instructional programming.
Representative Walorski says plenty of past programs have not worked.
“This comprehensive approach in stopping and actually getting to the root of the problem – which has been part of this whole problem of solution building – I’m just absolutely thrilled about some of the things that we’ve been able to talk about today(Thursday),” says Walorski.
Therapy, anger management, communication, moral judgment, and relapse prevention are all included in the Therapeutic Community curriculum.
The congresswoman briefly met with participants on Thursday to better understand why the Therapeutic Community is preferable to alternatives. According to many of the eight selected to speak with Walorski, the low number of participants, around 35, and the complete lack of narcotics inside the facility is a major positive compared to Westville Correctional Facilities’ program.
Walorski says if the numbers prove acceptable, the federal government could be a partner in the future.
“As we continue to evolve through this program and be able to measure the success rate, if it continues to go as it has gone, I think it’s going to be a model that we are going to look at, at the federal level,” says Walorski.
In addition to anticipated reductions in recidivism, state-level officials are also monitoring the program due to its cost saving potential.
Housing inmates in a prison typically costs an average of $55 per day, per inmate. The therapeutic community averages around $35 per day. That could potentially save millions of dollars over the long-run, according to one guard at the facility.
The Therapeutic Community Center is on a three-year pilot before the state considers significantly expanding funding and opportunities around Indiana.