Successful Inmate Substance Abuse Treatment Program saved hundreds of thousands in tax dollars

Over three-fourths of the inmates who participated in the Washoe County Sheriff’s Substance Abuse Treatment Program in fiscal year 2009/2010 did not return to the Sheriff’s Office Detention Facility within a year after their release.

This success lead to an estimated savings of nearly $300,000 in taxpayer dollars during fiscal year 2010/2011 based on jail days saved. Participation in the program is paid for by the inmate through the Inmate Commissary Fund, not by the County or the taxpayers.

According to statistics recently released by the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office Alternatives to Incarceration Unit, the Inmate Substance Abuse Treatment Program saw an:

* 49 percent increase in participation over previous years
* 463 successful completions
* 76 percent from fiscal year 2009/2010 did not recidivate (inmates did not return to the detention facility within one year of release)
* Estimated 2,315 jail days saved in fiscal year 2010 – 2011
* Total savings for fiscal year 2010/2011 of $294,005

The Alternatives to Incarceration Unit diverts qualified offenders away from costly incarceration and offers a second chance to those who have committed less serious offenses.Programs managed by the Sheriff’s Alternatives to Incarceration Unit include the Sheriff’s Community Work Program, Inmate Work Program and the House Arrest Program.

The Alternatives to Incarceration Unit also offers inmate counseling programs such as the Substance Abuse Treatment Program. Under the leadership of Sheriff Michael Haley, the Unit continues to expand its programs to give inmates opportunities for effective rehabilitation while incarcerated and to reduce recidivism.

Programs include, but are not limited to:

* Work Readiness
* G.E.D./Vocational Skills
* Women’s Empowerment Workshops
* Domestic Violence/Substance Abuse Prevention
* Goal Setting

All classes offered through the Alternative to Incarceration Unit are either paid for by the inmates, or taught by volunteers.

The Alternatives to Incarceration Unit also partners and participates in numerous county outreach programs and is a drop-off site for donations of new or gently used items. Donations are welcomed throughout the year and are given to a variety of charities. For more information, call (775) 785-4244.