Pubdate: Fri, 13 Aug 2004
Source: Messenger-Inquirer (KY)
Copyright: 2004 Messenger-Inquirer
Author: Owen Covington
Bookmark: (Treatment)


For many, drug and alcohol abuse contributed to crimes

Jimbo Johnson has been an inmate at the Daviess County Detention Center
three times. His third stay began 20 months ago and may not end for another
seven years.

"Each time I've been in here, I swear to myself, my family, that I wouldn't
be back," Johnson told a crowd of about 75 gathered on the grounds of the
detention center Thursday afternoon.

But each time, he has been back, largely because of his addiction to drugs
and alcohol, Johnson said.

With the help of the center's new substance abuse program, which held an
open house Thursday, Johnson is hoping this stay in jail will actually be
the last.

"I had no reason to go back to doing drugs, except I've never learned how to
fight it," Johnson said. "This program . . . has made me deal with a lot of
things I didn't want to deal with before."

The program, named Goebel Offenders' Addiction Life Solutions (GOALS) after
U.S. Magistrate E. Robert Goebel, is one of only three substance abuse
programs for inmates in the state. Goebel is a former Daviess district court

Seventeen inmates, selected from hundreds of applicants, began the new
program about a month ago, moving into Building Four at the center. The
building was not being used.

There, segregated from the rest of the jail population, the inmates
participate daily in group and individual sessions to help them conquer
their addictions and learn a sense of responsibility, said program
coordinator Donna Nolan.

"The only thing they are responsible for when they are addicted is chasing
that high, finding that drug," Nolan said. "Things we all take for granted,
they have never learned, and we're willing to show them."

The six-month program, which will phase in new participants as inmates
complete the program, teaches life skills, such as computer literacy and
interview skills, as well as parenting skills, Nolan said.

"By educating and changing an addict into a recovering addict," Nolan said,
"he can educate his child, and that will be a key component in drug abuse

Unlike the other two programs in the state, this program receives no state
or federal funding, which Osborne hopes will come in the future.

The program requires five extra deputies. They will be paid for by filling
the spaces left open in the jail's general population by the program's
participants with Kentucky and Indiana state inmates who bring in from $26
to $35 a day to the detention center, Daviess County Jailer David Osborne

Nolan's salary will be paid out of the jail's commissary fund, which is
reserved for inmate improvement purposes, Osborne said.

"We want this to be a real intensive program for these inmates," he said.
"We want to enable them to learn, to take responsibility for their own

Goebel, who cut the ceremonial ribbon to the facility Thursday, said the
program has the potential to stop the incarceration cycle of many addicted

Goebel estimates that 80 percent of inmates are jailed for offenses stemming
from drug and alcohol addiction.

"I've said for years, we are not using our resources properly when it comes
to dealing with the inmate population," he said. "Unless you treat that
addiction problem, they're going to come on back and keep coming on back."

Jonathan McRath, a 24-year-old inmate in the program, told the crowd
Thursday that he knows the program will help him get away from drugs, which
he has been around since he was 5.

"It's come time that this is not what I want. The streets is not what I
want," he said. "I want to make myself better. I want you to look at me as a
citizen, as a better person." 
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