Mid-Coast Recovery Coalition Update: MCRC “Boots on the Ground” Helping Knox County Jail
Thursday, March 09, 2017 12:30 PM
The Mid-Coast Recovery Coalition (MCRC) has been incorporated for only three months yet has ambitious plans to address the drug addiction epidemic eroding our community. MCRC has plans to help families affected by drug addiction, particularly those with young children. MCRC also is seeking to form a safety net of trained community mentors for teenagers at high risk of drug addiction. At this time, MCRC has submitted numerous grant applications to government agencies and to private foundations in order to launch these very important initiatives.
MCRC has also submitted grants to support the Knox County Jail to assist them in helping the more than 80 percent of their incarcerated population deal with their addictions and to help them successfully rejoin their families and the community in a healthy way. The sad reality now is that there is little to no treatment for most inmates as they serve their sentences. This is a very stressful situation for the inmates as well as the corrections staff, who never know which inmate will decompensate due to lack of treatment. MCRC is starting to make plans to help improve this situation.
MCRC also is on track to seek funding and to make plans to help the Knox County Jail introduce a “re-entry” program that would help inmates succeed in finding a place to live, a decent job and a path to recovery rather than continued drug use and a likely trip back to jail. Currently, the jail lacks the resources to provide these critically important supports needed by inmates to get their lives on track. As a result, many inmates leave jail without a reliable and safe place to live, without a decent job to support themselves and their families and without needed services such as transportation, dependable access to good food and fuel assistance. They also lack health insurance and behavioral health treatment for their addiction and the many “co-occurring” behavioral health conditions that contributed to their addiction in the first place. Too many inmates find little choice other than to return to communities and “friends” who contributed to their drug addiction and legal problems leading to their stint in jail. Many of them become “repeat offenders,” stuck in a vicious cycle of addiction, arrests and incarcerations. This cycle destroys individual lives and families. MCRC hopes to help the jail stop these unfortunate and preventable bad outcomes.
In the coming months, MCRC will work with the jail to design a re-entry process that works. This will result in “boots on the ground” in this offensive against the effects of drug addiction on our community. One aspect of the program will involve trained “Mentors” who have ample hands-on experience helping inmates come out of prison successfully. One such mentor is already available and more are likely to come forward. Once all parties are satisfied that all parts of the process are in place, it will be used for a single inmate to determine how it can be improved before it is expanded on a larger scale.
The community NEEDS to be part of this effort. These are specific needs we need YOU to provide:
1. Decent jobs — MCRC will work with all local employers to create opportunities for released inmates to get on their feet and to contribute to the community.
2. Safe housing — MCRC seeks landlords, and potential landlords, who might have good accommodations in neighborhoods that would help foster sobriety and recovery rather than relapse.
3. Transportation — Many released inmates have neither a driver’s license nor a vehicle to use to go to work, to treatment appointments or to take care of their life needs. Volunteers are needed who could help with rides. In other situations, a loaned or gifted vehicle would make a huge difference for this population.
4. Help with finances — Since most released inmates will not have a job immediately upon release, financial help would be needed to support them while they start the path to self-sufficiency. You can help.
5. Treatment — Whether the released inmate wishes to seek sobriety without medication assistance or wishes to be treated with methadone or Suboxone, MCRC will work with existing treating providers to accept released inmates immediately upon release.
Please join this very important effort to improve the health of vulnerable individuals and families. Ultimately, this will improve the health and safety of our community.
For more details, contact MCRC at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 701-1182. Thank you.