RNJ News Department

Morris County Jail opens recovery unit for inmates dealing with addiction

MORRIS TOWNSHIP, NJ (Morris County) – Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon, in partnership with Morris County Department of Human Services and the Center for Addiction Recovery Education & Success, announced Thursday the opening of the Hope Wing, a drug and alcohol addiction recovery unit for inmates incarcerated within the Morris County Correctional Facility.

The new Hope Wing is designed to help inmates address their addiction through daily programs such as relapse prevention, anger management, education, spirituality, relationship development, and peer to peer counseling, among others.

This inmate program compliments Sheriff Gannon’s Hope One program, which employs a team of support personnel who travel the county in a mobile recovery access vehicle to offer critical support for persons struggling with addiction, with goals of preventing drug overdoses and deaths.

“With opioid abuse reaching an alarming level in Morris County, I am proud to announce the opening of the Hope Wing within the Morris County Correctional Facility,’’ said Sheriff Gannon.

“The new unit will serve as one of the many components in place designed to reduce the rate of recidivism in Morris County. The old idiom of ‘Lock Them Up and Throw Away the Key’ has not worked in the past and will certainly not work in our future,” Gannon said.

“If we can get the inmates the help they need to combat their opioid and other drug/alcohol addictions during their incarceration, we will greatly reduce dependency related crimes being committed post incarceration,” Gannon said.

In the Hope Wing program, Sheriff Gannon is placing emphasis on four specific components he believes are necessary to increase an individual’s likelihood of post-incarceration: housing, employment, education and aftercare support services. Professionals at the county correctional facility will work closely with community outreach programs to assist inmates on those key issues.

Participating inmates must voluntarily enter into the Hope Wing unit and must agree to comply with a regimented weekly schedule determined by certified alcohol and drug counselors on staff at the jail. Daily sessions conducted by the counselors serve as one of many mechanisms employed to assist inmates combat their addiction.

The correctional facility also has a full-time spiritual leader and full-time educator committed to the program. The spiritual leader will assist with rebuilding familial relations and the use of faith in the fight against addiction, while the educator will assist in the development of skills necessary to seek and maintain employment once released from the facility.

In addition, inmates will be get regular visits from community volunteers who specialize in addiction services.

The Freeholder Board strongly supports Sheriff Gannon’s effort to take a positive and constructive approach to dealing with addictions and our growing opioid problem,’’ said Morris County Freeholder Kathy DeFillippo. “Morris County has adopted a Stigma-Free approach when it comes to encouraging residents with addiction and mental health problems to seek help – no questions asked. The Hope Wing fits right in with that philosophy.’’

“The Sheriff is adding another needed tool in our arsenal to fight the addiction epidemic facing our county, state and nation,’’ added  Melody Runyon, Associate Director of Morris County Prevention is Key.

To learn more about the Sheriff’s Hope One program, visit: sheriff.morriscountynj.gov/community/hope-one/

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By: Jay Edwards Follow on Twitter | Like on Facebook

(Photo Courtesy: Morris County)