Ohio Pushes Reforms to Help Inmates with Addiction Issues

At first glance, I was skeptical about offering treatment to people while they’re incarcerated. However, this approach does sound good to me.

Keri Blakinger

Four out of five inmates in Ohio’s prisons have addiction issues—and the state is finally taking action to address that problem more appropriately.

For the current fiscal year, the Buckeye State’s prison system received $27.4 million to help pay for more addiction counselors, a move that comes amid a host of other changes, according to the Bucyrus Telegraph-Forum.

Before July, the state was offering treatment to far fewer inmates. The state was releasing between 8,000 and 9,000 inmates with serious addiction issues every year, but only about half of them received treatment.

Under the new system, anyone who will be released in three months can start counseling in prison and have their records sent to a halfway house when they leave.

One of the treatment methods the Ohio system uses is the therapeutic community model. Non-violent offenders live together in groups of 70 to 180 and attend group counseling together.

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