HCDC Substance Abuse Program graduates first class

Nola Sizemore Staff Writer

October 22, 2013

The Harlan County Detention Center held their first graduation ceremony for 16 state inmates who had completed a six month Substance Abuse Program instituted by the Kentucky Department of Corrections on Wednesday at the jail.

Substance Abuse Programs (SAP) are available to inmates, probationers and parolees with a history of substance abuse. It is a six to nine month residential substance abuse program that utilizes the therapeutic community model to provide substance abuse services to those with a history of substance dependence.

Harlan County Detention Center’s SAP Director Summer Chitwood said she is “very proud of the graduates and she has seen a great change in many of them.” She said some of the classes the inmates were required to take were socialization, criminal and addictive thinking, anger management, thinking errors, Steps by the Big Book, work force preparation and career assessments which included writing resumes and mock interviews, drug and alcohol education, drugs of abuse, hierarchy of change, release and reintegration into society, life skills, living in balance and parenting, motivational work shops and goal setting and pathways to better living.

“The SAP program has shown me a lot of things I didn’t see or didn’t pay any attention to,” said graduate Scott. “I think a lot of times we put a mask on things we don’t want to see. This time when I was arrested I was at rock bottom, no parents, my kids taken away, my fiance locked up and no one to send me money. This program has shown me I needed discipline, structure and humility in order to change. I thank God and this program and the chance to better myself and to be the man and father I should have been to start with. This is the new me.”

Chitwood said the true test will come when they are released from jail. She encouraged them to “stick with their AA groups” and those in authority over them, along with utilizing the tools they have learned through the SAP Program.

Both Rev. Arnold Martin, pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church, and HCDC Chaplain Danny Lawson, told graduates to dedicate their lives to God and follow the examples laid out in the Bible as a guide for their daily living.

Evarts resident Bart McLain and Harlan County Jailer Curt Stallard talked about their struggles in life and how they overcame those obstacles through determination and “want to.”

“I’m proud of every one of you,” said Stallard.

In addition to offering substance abuse treatment services in jails and prisons, the DOC also contracts with community programs to provide outpatient and intensive outpatient substance abuse services. According to the information provided by the DOC’s web site SAP is located in 16 jails, 9 prisons, 11 community programs and 10 Recovery Kentucky Centers.

Reach Nola Sizemore at 606-573-4510, ext. 115, nsizemore@civitasmedia.com