A new program aimed at getting troubled Denver drug offenders treatment is less than two months old, but already it is paying dividends, according to those running it, the Denver Post reports. Of the seven people who started the Medication Assisted Treatment Induction Program for probationers, four remain enrolled. The program aims to identify troubled probationers who aren’t complying with requirements that they remain drug free. It gives them the option of receiving methadone treatment while in jail. Then they are handed off to an outpatient treatment program upon their release from custody. Every Wednesday, a representative from the public defender’s office, the Denver District Attorney’s office, a drug court magistrate, a probation official, a drug court coordinator, and a treatment professional meet to go over probation cases that would make a good fit for treatment. So far, one individual a week has qualified.
“We’re giving them a warm hand-off from the jail to a methadone clinic, and giving them wrap-around services and letting them know we’re here to support them and remove the roadblocks so they can be successful,” said Scott Prendergast, Denver probation supervisor. Getting the program up and running was a two-year process that involved collaboration between various agencies and the University of Colorado. The inspiration for the program came from a criminal justice forum Prendergast and Denver District Court Chief Judge Michael Martinez attended that included a presentation on a treatment program for opioid-addicted inmates in Rikers Island jail in New York City.