Addressing the Issues of Substance Abuse in the Justice System

In substance abuse, if other interventions do not first occur, incarceration may become the destination. According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, drug treatment studies for in-prison populations have found that when programs are well-designed using effective program elements and implemented carefully, these programs: reduce relapse, reduce criminality, reduce recidivism, reduce inmate misconduct, reduce mental illness, reduce behavioral disorders, increase the level of the inmate's stake in societal norms, increase levels of education and employment upon return to the community, improve health and mental health symptoms and conditions, and improve relationships.

WestCare understands the need for treatment and rehabilitation services inside the prison walls. In order to truly help the individual and uplift the human spirit, they must be given the tools needed to create positive change in their lives. Whether men, women, or women with children, WestCare uses unique, specialized, gender specific programming to address each population. Examples of inprison treatment programs include: WestCare Illinois' Sheridan Correctional Center programs and the Impact Program - Cook County Jail, and WestCare Wyoming's Medium Correctional Institution Intensive Treatment Unit Therapeutic Community Program and Women's Center Intensive Treatment Unit Therapeutic Community Program.

Treatment services for those in the criminal justice system are not limited to the in-prison programs. WestCare is involved in early intervention for adolescents by working with local drug courts and probation departments; intervening and providing alternatives to incarceration. WestCare provides after-care treatment services, vocational training, housing assistance, and family re-unification services for men and women being released from incarceration. Finally, WestCare works hand-in-hand providing case management services for parolees in need of treatment through connections, placement, and referral. Examples of programs such as these include: WestCare Wyoming's Boot Camp Youthful Offender Substance Abuse Program and WestCare California's SASCA (Substance Abuse Services Coordinating Agency).