Washington County inmates graduate from drug treatment program

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“I am loved, I am healed and free from addiction,” could be heard in the New Birth Christian Ministries church in Tennille.

SANDERSVILLE, Ga. — It’s the start of graduation season, but 15 men from Washington County aren’t having your typical celebration. Washington County Jail has a program called “The Residential Substance Abuse Treatment”.

It teaches inmates struggling with drug addiction to try to stay sober and stay in touch with loved ones while serving their sentence. We went to meet the second promotion.

“I am loved, I am healed and free from addiction,” could be heard in the New Birth Christian Ministries church in Tennille.

This graduation means that these incarcerated men have completed a six-month program focused on the recovery, rehabilitation and rehabilitation of drug and alcohol addicts. It included lessons and advice. Pastor Patrick Wilson is the program coordinator.

“Rather than arresting these men who have this disease and not providing rehab or recovery or re-education, they’re just going to serve their time in jail and they’re going to commit another crime,” Wilson said.

The program operates in three phases. So far, these inmates have completed two. First, a 12-step program for tackling addiction and self-reflection. Second, do community service and learn skills, like welding, first aid, and Microsoft Word. The last stage continues after this graduation and is called “follow-up”. Inmates will report once a week and attend a three-hour class to check on their progress.

“If they can complete this program in six months, I think they have the tools to reintegrate into the community and into society and be successful,” Wilson says.

Kyle Henry is one of Friday’s graduates. He was prescribed opiates after having shoulder surgery in college while playing basketball. He says he has struggled with drug addiction for 10 years.

“At the time, I thought I was numbing the pain, but all I was doing was hurting my body, my family, myself,” he says.

Kyle violated probation six months ago and was immediately offered a place in this program.

“I’ve been to one or two rehab programs before, and I can honestly say that none of them came close to the treatment I got this time around,” he says.

Kyle says he has made lifelong friends through this program and has big plans when he comes out in a year.

“I look forward to being active in the community and always giving back. I also want to help others with their addiction. I want to change lives myself,” says Henry.

The next residential drug treatment class begins in June. Several other sheriffs and judges visited the first graduation with an interest in trying to create a version of the program for other counties.

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