Dane County Seeks Proposals to Provide Services for New Initiative to Treat Offenders with Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Problems
December 20, 2002
Sharyn Wisniewski (608) 267-8823
Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk’s drive to cut down on offenders’ abuse of alcohol and other drugs, which contributes to repeat offenses and threatens public safety, took another step forward today.
The County’s Department of Administration today issued a Request for Proposal to provide services for a one-year Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse (AODA) Treatment Pilot, extending voluntary intensive treatment for 50 offenders with AODA problems who have more than four months to serve in jail.
Proposals are due February 10, with a program starting date of April 1. Up to $211,430 is earmarked for day treatment for the inmates’ first 30 days in the Dane County Jail or Ferris Huber Center, case management, follow-up, and six to nine months of aftercare services while on electronic monitoring overseen by the Dane County Sheriff’s Office.
Falk put the pilot program in her 2003 Executive Budget. It has the backing of Sheriff Gary Hamblin and District Attorney Brian Blanchard, and was approved by the Dane County Board of Supervisors.
“Abuse of drugs and alcohol absolutely contributes to deaths on our streets and highways, and to crime in our community,” said Falk. “We’ve got to attack the problem where it resides, and that is with the abuser. If we do this right, it will make a positive difference in saving lives, both of victims and of offenders.”
Falk said, “We have three goals. To reduce the numbers of repeat offenders in the criminal justice system. To increase public safety. And, to turn lives around. If we are successful, it will reduce jail overcrowding, lower costs, and save lives.”
The target population for the pilot will be inmates who have committed offenses resulting from substance abuse, and who are sentenced with Huber release privileges.
Not all inmates who abuse alcohol or drugs would be eligible. Persons convicted of homicide or serious injury to others by intoxicated use of a vehicle would not be eligible for the program.
A staff team will evaluate the program to see if it works, and if it should be expanded.
Between 1998 and 2000 there was an increase of 67% in the referrals for second or greater “Operating While Intoxicated” (OWI) offenses to the district attorney’s office.
In 2001 there were 797 alcohol-related crashes in Dane County, resulting in 20 deaths and 565 people injured. Preliminary statistics indicate that in the first six months of 2002, there were 371 alcohol related crashes in Dane County, resulting in seven people being killed, and 220 injured.
Based on a one-day snap shot on June 18, 2002, almost 50% of sentenced inmates in the Dane County Jail had one or more OWI offenses, as well as other charges. In addition, other sentenced inmates had significant AODA issues. Other charges, such as possession of drugs (THC, cocaine, and drug paraphernalia), battery such as domestic abuse, disorderly conduct, shoplifting and theft, suggest inmates may have a substance abuse problem.
In August, Falk released a consultant’s report that analyzed the Dane County Jail’s inmate population and made recommendations to reduce recidivism by changing how the county handles inmates who have alcohol and other drug abuse (AODA) problems.
A full copy of the Request for Proposal can be downloaded from the county’s website at www.co.dane.wi.us/purch/purch.htm. A hard copy can be obtained by contacting the county’s purchasing office at 608-266-4131.
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