Illinois Prison Takes The Lead In Meth Treatment


The Southwestern Illinois Correctional Center, a minumum security prison in East St. Louis, is only facility in the U.S. with a drug treatment program specifically designed for methamphetamine, reports the Southern Illinoisan. In October 2006, the former high school-turned prison opened its meth treatment house. Of the prison’s nearly 700 inmates, Warden James Davidson said about 200 are participating in the program that is “writing the book on meth treatment.”

This “innovative” approach Davidson proudly speaks of is evident from the name inmates gave the prison. Outside the doors leading to the seafoam green colored hallways of the facility hangs a sign, explaining what the inmates of “Turning Point” are struggling to do. It costs the state prison about $28,315 to house each inmate annually. The treatment provider, CiviGenics, is contracted by the state. “It’s a seven to one ratio. For every $1 spent on treatment, the state will save $7,” Davidson said. “It’s a no-brainer.” The treatment program is a learning process for inmates and administrators alike, said CiviGenic’s Ron Vitale. It is too early in the program’s existence to record recidivism results. “We’re all in this thing together,” he said. “It’s new to us and them. It’s a new lifestyle to some of these guys.”


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