The Aroostook County Sheriff’s Office has been awarded a grant from the Maine Justice Assistance Council to improve treatment services for county jail inmates and those recently released.

Aroostook-County-Sheriffs-Office

This grant will allow the county to expand upon its existing contract for services with the Aroostook Mental Health Center (AMHC). The Sheriff’s Office and AMHC have been collaborating on mental health and substance abuse issues for more than forty years and have a solid foundation for this joint effort.

The grant will provide funding for AMHC to provide substance abuse services in jail based programs as well as aftercare services. AMHC will screen inmates for substance abuse disorders, they will provide group programs for both male and female inmates using evidence based treatment models and a percentage of group participants will be followed by AMHC, post-release, through intensive care coordination for ninety days.

The obvious goal here is to reduce recidivism caused by the cycle of substance abuse and underlying mental health related issues. What we have been doing to address substance abuse in our jails has been falling short at least in part because it usually stops when they walk out the door.

It is time to try a new approach and with this grant we can do that. The total award for this competitive grant is just over $ 24,000 and we anticipate starting the program by the end of this year.