Porter County Sheriff's Department

What's Happening at The Porter County Sheriff's Department


IOP Program to add Counselors

Jail drug program adds counselor

By Christin Nance Lazerus Post-Tribune staff writer

September 10, 2007


VALPARAISO -- The Porter County Jail Chemical Dependency and Addictions Program is getting more staffing.  A few weeks ago, County Council members approved funding for a part-time drug counselor position.  It's a welcome boost for the program, which commonly has a three- to six-month waiting list for the men's program.  Chemical dependency therapist Gwen Schilling said a part-time counselor will mean another men's class of 23. Schilling supervises the women's program, while Dennis Mallonee heads the men's program.  She estimates about half of the men are ordered to attend the program by courts; the rest sign up voluntarily. Among women, 25 percent are court ordered.  "A lot of it is word of mouth," Schilling said. "People are ready to do something about it, and they have the time." Most of the program's funding is covered through a $25 booking fee charged to each inmate. Porter-Starke Services covers the remainder.  The program has been in place since Oct. 21, 2002.  Sheriff Dave Lain said he's seen the program make a difference in the number of repeat offenders.  "Across the country, the rate is 60 to 70 percent," Lain said. "So far the rate among program graduates is around 40 to 45 percent. There's been a demonstrable improvement."  The program takes a cognitive-behavioral approach and lasts eight to 10 weeks.  Schilling said the first half focuses on the nuts and bolts of addiction and the second half covers the basics of recovery.  Volunteers from Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous lead inmates through the 12-step process.  Lain said expanding the program beyond its current level is a question of staffing and space. He is impressed by feedback from graduates.  "They talk about being the best thing that's happened to them," Lain said. "It allows them to break the cycle."


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