- Associated Press - Thursday, April 28, 2016

RICHMOND, Ind. (AP) - An eastern Indiana prosecutor is starting a new treatment program for drug offenders that he hopes will end the cycle of addiction.

The Palladium-Item (https://pinews.co/1rBWD4K ) reported Wayne County Prosecutor Mike Shipman’s program will offer certain drug offenders a chance to participate in intensive treatment. If they successfully complete the program, Shipman will dismiss their cases.

“The keys to the jail are in their hands,” Shipman said.

Offenders arrested for using or possessing small amounts of drugs and other petty crimes driven by drug use will be given the chance to take part in the program.

“What brought about the idea for the program for me is the fact that many offenders return to the criminal justice system,” said Shipman. “It doesn’t seem like many are being rehabilitated.”

The Wayne County Probation Department would oversee the initiative and direct offenders to participating professionals to determine the best rehabilitation plan.

Offenders will have to sign a Pre-Trial Drug Diversion Agreement, which includes an admission of guilt and tests for communicable diseases such as hepatitis and HIV. Offenders also would pay an initial fee of $50. Shipman said Medicaid and the Healthy Indiana Plan, or HIP 2.0, pays the cost of treatment for felons.

“We knew we had to have a funding mechanism in place,” he said.

Lisa Suttle, director of psychiatric services at Reid Health, was not sure how many people would take advantage of the program.

“I don’t think it will be for everyone, but there are cases where it will be beneficial for some,” Suttle said.” It depends on the circumstances.”

Shipman said the number of offenders who would take part in the program is hard to predict.

“I hope the majority of people put themselves into the system and stay clean,” he said.

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Information from: Palladium-Item, https://www.pal-item.com


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