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February 7, 2015

Ohio Gov John Kasich advocating significant resources devoted to addiction services for prisoners

As reported in this local article, headlined "Addiction programs for incarcerated included state budget," Ohio's GOP Governor John Kasich is now showing through his latest budget proposal that he remains deeply committed to "smart on crime" sentencing and prison reforms. Here are the details:

Eight of 10 people come to Ohio prisons with a history of abusing drugs and alcohol.  Most leave without treatment or a recovery plan, with predictable results. On the outside, they return to old addictive habits that often trigger criminal behavior.

Gov. John Kasich’s proposed state budget calls for a $61.7 million collaboration by two agencies to treat offenders both behind bars and once they are released. “This is not tinkering with recovery programs. This is going to be a remarkable leap forward, addressing a large group of people coming to our prisons who in many cases aren’t being served at all,” said Gary Mohr, director of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.

The big-picture goal is to help ex-offenders succeed outside prison and, in the long run, to cut prison costs charged to taxpayers. Statistics show that about 10 percent of inmates who get alcohol and drug treatment later return to prison, compared with about 27 percent of those who don’t get treatment.

The change pushed by Kasich would shift responsibility for inmate-recovery services from Rehabilitation and Correction to the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. It involves moving 120 people who work for prisons to the mental-health agency budget at a cost of $12.5 million annually. They will, however, continue working in the same jobs.

Prison officials estimate that about 4,500 of the roughly 30,000 inmates with moderate to severe addiction problems are getting recovery services. Officials from the two agencies won’t predict how many more inmates will be treated until the program is in place, but Stuart Hudson, prison chief of medical services, said it will be a “substantial increase.”...

Mental-health director Tracy Plouck said much of the $61.7 million, beyond the $25 million to absorb the DRC staff, will go for community recovery services once inmates return home.

Prison officials have struggled for years with an influx of inmates who commit nonviolent crimes, many of them related to their addictions.  For about 20 percent of new prisoners, a drug charge is their most serious offense.  Many are in and out of prison so quickly there isn’t time or resources to get them involved in recovery programs, Mohr said.

“We’re not reaching enough people and we’re not reaching them early enough,” Mohr said. “Ohioans are paying $22,500 a year for each prisoner, and we should be doing more than warehousing them. We are committed to helping people improve their lives.” Ohio’s recidivism rate of 27.1 percent is far better than the national average of over 40 percent.

February 7, 2015 at 10:17 AM | Permalink

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Comments

Here is something that was not mentioned by these left wing rent seekers. The imprisonment and the threat of longer imprisonment is a strong motivating factor in the recovery from addiction. Take it away, and getting high is overwhelmingly appealing and craved.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Feb 8, 2015 4:17:30 AM

The overwhelming statis of our prison systems is incredible! I very much agree with the need for rehab in place of such harsh inprisonment. That of course based on the circumstances of what all was involved with the crime. Treatment is of utmost importance if we are to try and not only help the addicts but the innocent victims that get caught up in the wave of their addiction. The victim of the crime, children of the offenders, the tax payers! As for the comment above, I believe the treatment needs to be a length of time inside of prison walls, not of short spans such as six months to a year. But that of three years. That compared to say fifteen years gives time to a first offender to know prison life, learn a new way of life and go thru all emotions and adjustment needed to realize just who is responsible for what, where, and will happen! Future choices! I also very much believe if treatment is offered and taken the individual should not be allowed to have any outside financial help during the three years of treatment. Living inside, living without n learning the punishment is the only way to learn!

Posted by: Sandra Pauley | Jun 9, 2015 11:14:51 AM

In regards to the above post as to simply longer sentences and the threat to imprison someone to keep them from getting high I myself as a recovering addict find that solution by itself not only lacking in knowledge of the entire problem but ridiculous! Do I think they should not be punished or inprisoned? No, of course not! But treatment or problem solving is the solution to any problem and knowledge is power! Secondly, it is extremely easy to get high, stay high your whole time in prison! So, too help the ones properly that are addicts, making sure they get reasonable sentences and good treatment for first time non violent offenses helps you the taxpayer! Please remember, just because you aren't the addict does not mean one day you won't be or someone you love won't be! And yes I pray for all victims of any crime just as much if not more!

Posted by: Sandra Pauley | Jun 19, 2015 1:29:52 PM

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