DOJ Budgets $10.8 Million For Prisoner Substance Abuse Programs

By Seth Ferranti 09/22/16

The treatment initiative is a three-pronged strategy encompassing residential, jail-based and aftercare programs.

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 DOJ Budgets $10.8 Million For Prisoner Substance Abuse Program

As part of the Department of Justice’s Prescription Opioid and Heroin Epidemic Awareness Week, grants totaling $10.8 million have been awarded to 162 state, tribal and local government agencies to help them improve their prisoner drug treatment programs for Americans in the criminal justice system.

The grants were announced by Deputy Attorney General Sally Q. Yates at a Bureau of Prisons Community Treatment Services Program on Monday, where she outlined the DOJ's plan to help prisoners successfully transition back to society without the hindrance of a drug use problem.

By giving prisoners with a history of dependence the tools they need before they get out, they will be more prepared to deal with their addiction problems and less likely to recidivate. 

“Cooperation and community partnerships like the ones supported by the Residential Substance Abuse Treatment Program help incarcerated individuals transitioning back to the community receive the support they need to break the cycle of addiction and have the tools they need for successful reentry,” said Yates. “These grants are a critical part of the department’s ongoing work to combat the prescription opioid and heroin epidemic and provide treatment to those in need.”

The initiative is moving forward with a three-pronged strategy encompassing residential, jail-based and aftercare programs. Those awarded the funds will be expected to cooperate with state correctional administrators and drug/alcohol abuse facilities already operating in their respective areas.

By partnering with community-based organizations, prison systems can maximize the benefits of the much needed assistance. Instead of throwing ex-offenders back on the streets to fend for themselves, the program will enable them to get the help they need while incarcerated, and then continue it in the community once they’re released. 

“Treating justice-involved individuals for substance abuse must extend beyond incarceration treatment programs to be successful,” said Assistant Attorney General Karol V. Mason. “These grants reward those state, tribal and local agencies that seek to leverage community partnerships and interagency cooperation as well to help these individuals reenter society.”

The federal Bureau of Prisons already has a drug program in place with residential and aftercare services, but the new grants will make this model available in prisons and county jails in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories, according to a statement by the DOJ.

By treating substance abuse as a health issue and giving addicts the help they need while serving their sentences, society will benefit as a whole and help ex-offenders start a new life.

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After landing on the US Marshals Top-15 Most Wanted list and being sentenced to a 25 year sentence in federal prison for a first-time, nonviolent LSD offense, Seth built a writing and journalism career from his cell block. His raw portrayals of prison life and crack era gangsters graced the pages of Don DivaHoopshype and VICE. From prison he established Gorilla Convict, a true-crime publisher and website that documents the stories that the mainstream media can’t get with books like Prison Stories and Street Legends. His story has been covered by The Washington PostThe Washington Times, and Rolling Stone.

Since his release in 2015 he’s worked hard to launch GR1ND Studios, where true crime and comics clash. GR1ND Studios is bringing variety to the comic shelf by way of the American underground. These groundbreaking graphic novels tell the true story of prohibition-era mobsters, inner-city drug lords, and suburban drug dealers. Seth is currently working out of St. Louis, Missouri, writing for The FixVICEOZY, Daily Beast, and Penthouse and moving into the world of film. Check out his first short, Easter Bunny Assassin at sethferranti.com. You can find Seth on Linkedin or follow him on Twitter.

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