BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - A drug treatment program called New Beginnings at the Monroe County Jail is helping addicts while they are still behind bars. It started a little more than a year ago and it's finding success.
New Beginnings is a 90-day re-entry program. Participants in the program take life skills classes for the last 90 days of their incarcerations in separate dorms from the general population. The program continues for another 90 days after they are released.
So far, more than 80 people have enrolled in the program. 68 have been men and 14 have been women. They all have past, current or pending felony charges.
Nine of the 82 participants have reportedly committed new crimes.
On Wednesday, there were 12 male inmates in the program. They are fathers, sons and friends. Jacob Mathis was in an orange jump suit just a few months ago.
"I didn’t do anything productive. I was just stuck in that loop of addiction," said Mathis.
Mathis said his addiction to meth began in high school and he has been arrested a few times for drug-related charges. His last incarceration lasted 135 days. His probation officer referred him to the New Beginnings program and now he has been sober for five months.
"It seems unreal. Five months ago if you would have told me I could maintain sobriety for this long, I would not have believed you," he said.
He lived in this dorm for 90 days and took classes ranging from anger management to life skills. He is now continuing the program for 90 days with Centerstone, a recovery support group.
"When they get out, that’s kind of where the rubber meets the road," said Ashley Collins, a forensic coordinator at Centerstone.
Collins said the last 90 days has been challenging for some participants. However, every client who chose to take the Vivitrol injection remain in recovery.
Clients can receive a free injection prior to their release and then they are connected with a Centerstone psychiatrist to ensure they get their monthly dose on schedule once they are released.
"I actually have a purpose in life now. Never had a purpose before," said Kimberly Enochs, a graduate.
Enochs is taking the Vivitrol injection every month. She graduated from the program after being in jail for five months for a drug court violation.
"I have never been so happy. I have never loved myself like I love myself now," she said.
Both Enochs and Mathis credit this treatment for giving them a new beginning.
"Whatever they are doing is helping me and I appreciate it," said Mathis.
The Division of Mental Health and Addiction gave permission for a 90 day re-entry pilot. Recovery Works helps pay for the 90 days after incarceration since insurance does not pay for these services for incarcerated individuals.