Starke County Jail inmates who are awaiting trial on drug offenses now have access to a treatment program. It launched last week and is led by Porter-Starke Services substance abuse counselor Leo Smith. Sheriff Bill Dulin says it’s separate from the Department of Corrections Therapeutic Community.
The local program can accommodate a total of 24 inmates–18 males and six females–and is entirely voluntary.
If participants bond out are released, Dulin says the program is designed to transition to Porter-Starke’s intensive outpatient program and continue through probation and Community Corrections.
He adds between 80 and 90 percent of offenders awaiting trial are in jail for some type of drug-related crime. Dulin hopes offering access to treatment will reduce recidivism rates. Realistically he hopes to cut that rate by between 10 and 20 percent. Even though the program just launched, he says it’s been a work in progress for quite some time.
“Warden Phil Cherry, Starke County Probation, Starke County Community Corrections—it’s been probably two-and-a-half years in the making. It’s something that I feel strongly about. Starke County is known for the drug problem, but a lot of other counties have the same problem, too. We’re not just isolated here in Starke County or Knox.”
Program participants meet together three days a week for a few hours a day. The 40 or so inmates who expressed an interest in the program were screened by Porter-Starke, and the list was pared down to accommodate the 24 available slots.