Clark Co. officials hoping to provide substance abuse treatment - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Clark Co. officials hoping to provide substance abuse treatment for eligible felony offenders

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JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (WDRB) -- Officials in Clark County want to start an in-house substance abuse treatment program for certain felony offenders. The goal is to send people who break the law into treatment, instead of jail.  

But they need state grant money to get the program up and running. 

The Clark County Jail can hold 500 inmates and we're told it's usually full or close to full. The sheriff estimates 80 percent of the county's crime is tied to drugs. 

"We have a lot of people in our community who need help with their addictions," said Jamie Hayden, the Executive Director of Clark County Probation and Supervision. 

The county used to have a drug treatment court but it was surrounded by controversy. 

Some inmates filed a lawsuit claiming they served longer than their sentences.

We're told the drug court closed in August but the need for help is still there. 

"If you have someone with a substance abuse issue, you have very few things within the county to put them in when they don't have money," said Clark Co. Community Corrections Director Danielle Grissett. 

Officials say they're applying for grant money to hire more people in probation and community corrections.

They also want to start a forensic diversion program for certain felons addicted to drugs. 

The program alone would cost more than $150,000. 

"It's going to be at least a three month, in-patient type, intensive treatment. They wouldn't be leaving the facility," Grissett explained. 

Officials say the program would start in July with about 25 men.  

They'd be housed on the third floor of the county jail. 

"Instead of taking your average substance abuse offender and then sending them to the Department of Corrections for 10 years, you try to get them into treatment first so they can get back out into society," Grissett told WDRB News. 

Those new employees the county hopes to hire would help run the program and choose who is eligible. 

They also want to get people into treatment faster instead of waiting for their entire case to play out. 

"You don't want that lag time because there's a higher probability that they'll reuse," Hayden said. 

Clark County officials say if the plan is approved, it could save money for the county by keeping people out of jail and help turn lives around. 

We're told the grant application will be sent Thursday.

They could get all of the funding requested or just certain parts. 

Officials expect to hear back in a month or so. 

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