Starke County Jail to Offer Drug Treatment for Local Inmates


Starke County Jail inmates who are awaiting sentencing will soon have access to voluntary drug treatment while they are locked up. The county recently got a grant from the Indiana Department of Correction to add a local program.

Porter-Starke Services addictions counselor Leo Smith says criminal behavior and substance abuse go hand-in-hand.

“Probably 80 percent or so of people incarcerated have an identifiable substance abuse problem, so we want to tackle that part,’ Smith told the county commissioners. “Part of the treatment program is about letting them identify what it is they’re dealing with and how they can deal with it when they get out of there.”

He adds the goal is to help people learn to stay clean and sober and to quit reoffending in order to reduce recidivism through the intensive outpatient program.

Basic addiction identification will be covered, along with relapse prevention triggers for both addiction and criminal addictive thinking. Smith says addressing those issues are critical components of treatment.

Smith plans to conduct two to three groups per week of male and female inmates. He adds treatment doesn’t stop in jail.

“A lot of times people think they get a paper and they’re fixed. Well, we want to take it from the jail into services and keep that continuum of treatment where this person has an opportunity to step out and actually follow up with not coming back.”

Porter-Starke Services will work closely with Starke County Community Corrections and the probation department to ensure inmates continue treatment after they get out of jail. Aftercare components include individual, family and group therapy.

The drug treatment program will formally launch as soon as a memorandum of understanding between Porter-Starke Services and Starke County is signed.

The local program is in addition to the Department of Correction Therapeutic Community that is also housed at the Starke County Jail. It’s for inmates who have been sentenced to the intensive inpatient drug treatment program and is the first of its kind not housed in a prison. The therapeutic community inmates are housed in a separate area of the jail and are not mixed with the county population.