Jefferson County will receive $500,000 a year over a two-year period to fund the Treatment Train, a project designed to lower substance abuse-related arrests.

The grant was announced by state Rep. Terry Goodin.

The project was conceived by COCOA (Continuity of Care of Adults) and endorsed by state and local elected officials, judicial representatives, law enforcement personnel, mental health providers, and workforce agencies, said Amber Finnegan, executive director of Jefferson County Community Corrections.

Community corrections will be the lead agency for the program. Funding for the project will be provided by the Indiana Department of Mental Health.

"The Treatment Train is a comprehensive program to effectively and efficiently address substance abuse challenges of older youth and adults in Jefferson County," Finnegan said in a news release.

"The program involves a wide range of services offered by the Jefferson County judicial system and other participating community-based organizations," she said.

Funding from the grant will be used to provide a substance abuse counselor at the Madison and Southwestern schools; staff for community corrections and each local mental health agency; evidence-based substance abuse therapy programs at the high schools, jail, and treatment agencies; and Rural Works, a poverty-to-self-sufficiency skills development and employment program.

The Treatment Train requires a commitment from each agency in the program. It requires close communication and collaboration between participating agencies; a shared understanding of each organization's role and responsibility within the program; a commitment to joint case management and information sharing; and a commitment to share responsibility for program outcomes.

Finnegan said the Treatment Train project will save local and state taxpayer dollars by increasing the capacity of the Jefferson County Community Corrections Program, an alternative sentencing program that reduces the number of inmates housed in the Jefferson County Jail and state prison system.

In 2011, Jefferson County Community Corrections supervised 135 offenders. If those offenders were sentenced to IDOC for one year, it would cost the state more than $2.6 million, Finnegan said.

The program also will provide a re-entry program including in-house and outpatient substance abuse treatment combined with mentoring and employment opportunities, Finnegan said.

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