BANGOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — When people addicted to opiates end up in jail they can get help and treatment, but all too often when they get out they end up losing their support and get back into trouble.
That's why the Penobscot County Sheriff's Department on Friday announced a new partnership with Penobscot Community Health Care and DHHS for a pilot program called RISE.
Twelve female inmates struggling with opiate addiction will be provided counseling services and medication assisted treatment. The inmates will be provided the drug Vivitrol – which is an opiate blocker – along with individual and group counseling that will begin while they're in jail and will continue after they are released.
"That's really a big challenge for many who walk out of the facility and sometimes don't know where to turn," said Sheriff Troy Morton. "So we're trying to knock down that barrier and make it easier for them to receive treatment."
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Since education provides pathways to opportunity, the University of Maine's College of Education & Human Development, Riverside Adult Education Partnership and Literacy Volunteers of Bangor are joining forces to provide educational opportunities for up female inmates at Penobscot County Jail.
The pilot program, called "What Now? What's Next?" lets the women choose from a menu of services, ranging from help with completing high school and preparing for college, to child development and parenting classes, to one-on-one tutoring in reading and writing.
"The framework we brought to this is thinking about how can literacy really make a significant difference in the long term lives of the people with whom we are working," said Susan BennettArmistead, an associate professor of literacy at UMaine.
About 30 women inside Penobscot County Jail have taken part in the program so far.