St. Louis County, Mo.’s Choices Substance Abuse Program spends 90 days taking jail inmates through five stages of drug education, from addressing criminal thinking to avoiding a relapse, says the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Inmates work on their addictions in class settings, focus groups, and one-on-one sessions. A survey found that 95 percent of Choices graduates last year remained out of jail and drug free for at least a year. That was good news for a program badly hobbled after the county reduced its funding from $950,000 to $200,000 last year.
The budget cut forced officials to reduce the number of counselors from eight to two, cut the number of inmates it served from 320 to 147 and shorten the overall program from 120 to 90 days. Prof. Donald Linhorst of St. Louis University’s School of Social Services, who conducted the most recent study, said the program is “very innovative. There are not a lot of jails with this kind of program.”