U.S. Senators Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor and U.S. Representatives Marion Berry (AR-01), Vic Snyder (AR-02) and Mike Ross (AR-04) today announced that the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration will receive a $355,116 U.S. Department of Justice grant to continue its Residential Substance Abuse Treatment for State Prisoners Program at three correctional facilities in the state.
The Arkansas Department of Correction has 226 beds assigned to long-term substance abuse treatment at the Tucker Unit in Jefferson County, Wrightsville Unit in Pulaski County and McPherson Unit in Jackson County. The Arkansas Department of Community Correction also has a 50-bed Special Needs Unit at the Southeast Arkansas Community Correction Center in Jefferson County.
"I am pleased that Arkansas will continue to provide treatment for prisoners with substance abuse problems so they can end their dependence on drugs," Lincoln said. "This program will make our communities safer and save money for our state and local communities by preventing future drug-related crimes."
"Substance abuse can ruin lives and lead people down a road of criminal activity. These funds will help prisoners across the state treat their addictions and have a better chance of leading productive, crime-free lives once they return to society."
"In order to curb illegal substance abuse on our streets we must be equipped and prepared to facilitate the rehabilitation process in our prisons too," Berry said. "This funding will help treat offenders struggling with drug addiction, and hopefully lead to fewer repeat offenses in turn making our communities safer."
"This funding may be helpful in reducing the cycle of incarceration for Arkansas prisoners," Snyder said. "Penitentiary substance abuse treatment may improve community safety by lowering the number of prisoners who are released back into society with substance abuse problems."
"Drug addiction is a vicious cycle that often leads people to a criminal lifestyle in order to feed their habit," Ross said. "This investment will give the Arkansas Department of Corrections the resources they need to treat prisoners who have drug addiction problems. We must end this vicious cycle and prevent the release of desperate and dangerous drug addicts back in to our communities."
Residential Substance Abuse Treatment programs provide inmates with individual and group treatment at facilities that are separate from the general correctional population. This treatment focuses on encouraging lifestyle changes to end substance abuse as well as develop behavioral and vocational skills. Prisoners enrolled in programs are required to undergo drug testing while in custody and will receive "aftercare" services after they have completed the program and are on parole or probation.