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Pilot Program To Help Addicted Inmates In West Virginia

Reported: Feb. 18, 2014 4:15 PM EST
Updated: Feb. 18, 2014 5:43 PM EST

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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (Dave Benton) -- West Virginia will soon launch a program offering substance abuse treatment to people on parole or work release.

The goal is to get them on the right path. It's called the Justice Reinvestment Program. Nine counties, including Cabell, will get funding to help inmates get off drugs once they are out of jail.

Joshua Sloan is a former inmate and drug addict. Sloan said he has been clean for 110 days.

"I was incarcerated for my addiction because I did a couple things I wasn't supposed to do," Sloan said. "When I got out and had no treatment in jail, I relapsed."

What happened to Sloan happens to a lot of inmates once they are released. That is why the state is starting the Justice Reinvestment Program to help keep addicts out of jail and on the right path.

Kim Miller with Prestera Mental Health Services said the legal system has been "locking up people with drug addiction problems and low level offenders for many, many years. Probably because we're mad at them, not because that's really what they need."

The pilot program will offer treatment to people on probation, parole and supervised release. If it's a success, Kanawha County will be next to get funding, including a treatment facility. The program is expected to get under way in the next six months.

Anyone who needs help battling addiction can check the services available
here or
or call 1-800-642-3434.

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