For many years Howard County has provided substance use disorder treatment through the Howard County Health Department whose counselors work in the detention center providing an outpatient level program, as well as assessments and referrals for placement in community inpatient treatment. The Health Department also provides overdose response training and the provision of naloxone for staff and inmates. Through the Maryland Community Criminal Justice Treatment Program, a clinician from the Howard County Mental Health Authority (now a Department of Corrections employee) has provided transitions counseling for those with mental health concerns, who are being released to the community. Often these staff collaborate on individuals with co-occurring disorders.
In 2017 Howard County changed its policy regarding the use of methadone and buprenorphine. The Department now allows inmates who have short stays/sentences who are on a prescribed methadone or suboxone treatment protocol, to continue with the treatment while at the Detention Center. The Department has partnered with community providers such as I Can’t We Can and Silverman’s Clinic to receive the medications if the offender’s provider is unwilling to provide the medication to the offender. We also will now allow inmates assigned to work release who are assessed as needing methadone or buprenorphine, to begin receiving these medications while on work release status. Health Department funds are available to pay for these medications when necessary.
Religious services for inmates are provided through volunteers and volunteer faith-based organizations. Christian Jail Ministry (CJM) has provided spiritual and pastoral services for inmates and their families since July 1979 as volunteers to the Detention Center. CJM programs at the Detention Center include various worship services, religious education and correspondence courses, pastoral counseling, individual discipleship training, and personal help. In addition CJM volunteers provide a gift giving program for the children of those incarcerated. Financial and volunteer support for CJM comes from local churches, individuals, and businesses. CJM employs one full-time chaplain and utilizes the services of several local pastors, who serve as associate chaplains on a volunteer basis to oversee the ministry and minister at the Detention Center.
Muslim faith education and Juma Services are offered at the Detention Center through the volunteer services of the Dar Al-Taqwa congregation in Howard County. A consistent number of inmates have participated in the services as well as weekly education classes. The congregation also provides religious material and Qu’rans for the inmates.
Catholic services are offered weekly for the inmate population as well through Saint Matthews Catholic Church. Additionally, an outreach group from this church pervaded monthly services for BICE inmates. Volunteer Deacon services provide weekly communion coordinated through St. Lawrence Parish in Jessup.
In addition The Department of Corrections is responsible for ensuring the religious needs of all inmates, regardless of their faiths, are appropriately address The Deputy Director has administrative responsibility for religious services. The Deputy Director can be contacted at 410-313-5204.
This grant provides funding for Vivitrol use and for wrap around services and treatment at release. We expanded the grant to pay for methadone and buprenorphine, where the candidate was not medically eligible for Vivitrol. This has been an effective way for some inmates to stop using drugs and/or drinking. The one problem with the use of vivitrol is that nearly 50% of those referred to our medical department for evaluation are not medically cleared to do so. Therefore, the alternative medications are offered.
The Detention Center offers at least two sessions of the Strengthening Families Program per year. This is an evidence-based parenting program that focuses on at risk children. Incarceration of a parent is a high-risk factor; the program provides hands-on tools for parenting and at the same time developing and strengthening family bonds while incarcerated. This is funded in part by GOCCP.
The Detention Center partners with the Mediation and Conflict Resolution Center, Inc., to provide mediation services to those returning to the community. Mediation is highly recommended for individuals for whom family relationships may be a risk factor, and this supports the Addictions and reentry programs.
In the past six years Howard County has developed a reentry program that includes staff working in and out of the jail assisting inmates to successfully return and stay in the community. The Department’s reentry staff have expanded their network for substance abuse treatment resources. Staff have found sober living programs in Howard and surrounding counties and are able to place released offenders in such programs/facilities faster. Corrections has received funding for a second year from the county for housing of homeless inmates returning to the community and these funds may be used for initial funding of individuals in sober living. The reentry staff was increased to 3.5 positions with an anticipated additional .5 position supported through grant funds. In the past year and a half, Howard County has been successful in obtaining housing funds through federal/state ESG (Emergency Solutions Grant) funds to address the housing challenge for returning homeless offenders.