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Odyssey House Gets Grant to Add Peer Mentors to Corrections Program in NYC

Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Weekly

The federal Department of Justice has awarded New York City–based Odyssey House a two-year, $300,000 grant for a pre- and postrelease peer mentoring and recovery program. The work will be done at the Edgecombe Correctional Facility and builds on the 45-day inprison treatment program Odyssey House currently operates at the facility for “technical” violators of parole — people who have not followed the rules set for them upon release. These rules may include staying off drugs. The program will provide a bridge from prison to community living during re-entry, when relapse is a risk. The Edgecombe Correctional Facility was established seven years ago through a joint effort with the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, the New York State Department of Correctional Services, the New York State Division of Parole and Odyssey House (seeADAW, June 23, 2008). About 80 percent of state prison inmates have a substance use disorder history. For the Edgecombe Peer Mentoring Program, Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselors work on-site to provide group recovery services under the Odyssey House grant. The approach will link parolees to peer mentors, who will act as their “recovery coaches,” according to a press release from Odyssey House. The post-release component will be provided by volunteers — people who have completed treatment and are in recovery. These peer mentors will have been trained in evidence-based programs. “We know we can break the cycle of addiction and incarceration when treatment, law enforcement, and criminal justice agencies work together to provide real alternatives that help people with substance use disorders find a new way of living that supports recovery, offers work and life skills, and protects against relapse and recidivism,” said Peter Provet, Ph.D., president and CEO of Odyssey House, in the press release.

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