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Denver County Jail Substance Abuse Treatment Program Uses Peer Recovery Model


The Denver County Jail uses a peer recovery model to help inmates take a more active role in their substance abuse treatment, The Denver Post reports. Participants in the program work together, along with clinicians, in day-long sessions to hold one another accountable for their choices. The program runs six days a week, from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The jail is the only one in the state, and one of only a few in the nation, to use the Recovery in a Safe Environment program, the article notes. It has been running since 2011. Some inmates join voluntarily, while others are required to participate as part of their sentence. Last year, 208 men and 128 women participated in the program.

“The majority of the programming is run by inmates, which makes them more invested in the process and gives them an opportunity to take a more active role in their recovery,” Jamie Jackson, Program Administrator for the Denver County Jail, told the newspaper. “It really is a unique environment. Generally when you come to jail, you don’t ever want to show any type of weakness, but these men and women are letting their guard down.”

3 Responses to this article

  1. jboside / January 22, 2014 at 5:36 pm

    Social Model programs have been working for 50 years here in California. Low cost and effective.

  2. Andrew / January 22, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    The article does very little to encourage me that these prisoners are receiving proper care and counseling. Are the peers trained? If so, by whom? Is the program certified by the state or a national body? Peer treatment is only effective if the peers providing the counseling are competent and highly trained in evidence based practices.

  3. Avatar of Andrea
    Andrea / January 23, 2014 at 2:00 am

    I think you are taking it to a bit of an extreme. There are actually quite a few individuals that get into the field due to their experiences. I don’t believe they need to be trained to hold each other and themselves accountable. It says they go through the process with clinicians. It’s like a big support group, except you are all working towards a common goal. I found it rather interesting and would love to see some data in comparison to other facilities. Things like, how many inmates end up returning in this facility vs. another that doesn’t use this model? I think that people are trying to think outside of the box.

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