Centerstone Launches Rehabilitative Alternative for Drug Dependent Public Offenders in Southern Indiana

New program aims to reduce recidivism by addressing the root of addiction-related crime

Columbus, Ind.
— Centerstone, the nation’s largest provider of community-based behavioral healthcare, today announced the launch of a new forensic diversion program dedicated to providing treatment for public offenders who suffer from substance abuse. The program, which will be available across 18 counties in southern Indiana, is designed to reduce recidivism rates among public offenders struggling with mental health and substance abuse disorders. It is funded largely by a $2.2 million, four-year grant from the Indiana Division of Mental Health and Addictions and the Indiana Department of Corrections.

“Many offenders suffer from substance abuse and addiction. In fact, data shows that 17 percent of state prisoners committed their current offenses to obtain money for drugs1,” said Linda Grove-Paul, Program Director for Centerstone’s Forensic Diversion Program. “Criminal sentences lacking substance abuse treatment options fail to address the root of this problem. As a result, the recidivism rate among drug users is very high. We are thrilled to have a program here in southern Indiana to help people get past their addictions and set on a drug- and crimefree path.”

Centerstone’s forensic diversion program is modeled on the remarkably effective program instituted in Lake County by Southlake Center for Mental Health.

“Recidivism for offenders with substance abuse problems or addiction who are incarcerated is about 70 to 80 percent within one year of release,” said Jim Berman, Director of Contracted Clinical Cervices for Southlake. “But since its inception in October 2004, forensic diversion at Southlake has lowered that statistic to less than 40 percent for those who have come through our program. We’re happy to share our best practices and lessons learned with Centerstone and know that the people of this region – offenders and law-abiding citizens alike – will profit from the care and expertise Centerstone provides.”

Implemented in collaboration with and as a subcontractor of Southlake Center, Centerstone’s forensic diversion program is an intensive residential treatment serving up to 15 male offenders at one time. It operates at the Clark County Community Corrections facility in Jeffersonville. Residence in the program’s intensive drug treatment unit lasts 90 days, followed by courtordered outpatient aftercare services for up to nine months, during which the client is placed under house arrest. Chemically dependent offenders are directed to the program by courts, prosecutors, and defense attorneys as an alternative to incarceration. Consideration for the program is restricted to chemically dependent offenders who may also be dual-diagnosed with a mental health disorder.

While in treatment, offenders participate in individual and group therapy, as well as education groups addressing criminal behaviors and attitudes. Offenders who require psychiatric services receive treatment from a consulting psychiatrist as appropriate. Resources for vocational training, housing, and social services are available to facilitate reintegration into the community upon their completion of the program.

“Individuals ensnared by substance abuse frequently commit crimes to fund their addictions. They aren’t bad; they need help,” said Bob Williams, CEO of Centerstone in Indiana. “Centerstone’s goal is to help those struggling with behavioral health disorders achieve recovery and long-term wellness. We believe everyone matters, and we are proud to bring this forensic diversion program to our region for the benefit of everyone in our community.”

Direct treatment costs of Centerstone’s forensic diversion program are funded through a grant to Southlake Center by the Division of Mental Health and Addiction and the Indiana Department of Corrections. Centerstone collaborates with Clark County Community Corrections to operate and maintain the program.

Centerstone’s forensic diversion program is available in the following counties: Bartholomew, Brown, Clark, Crawford, Dearborn, Floyd, Harrison, Jackson, Jefferson, Jennings, Lawrence, Monroe, Ohio, Orange, Ripley, Scott, Switzerland, and Washington.

About Centerstone

Centerstone (www.centerstone.org), a not-for-profit organization, is the nation’s largest provider of community-based behavioral healthcare. With a history that spans over fifty years, Centerstone provides a full range of behavioral health and related educational services to more than 69,000 individuals of all ages and their families annually. Children, adolescents, adults, seniors, and families all receive help from a multitude of different programs in more than 120 facilities and 150 partnership locations in Indiana and Tennessee. Centerstone is accredited by The Joint Commission in Indiana and the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF).