Jail treatment program contract signed between Winnebago County and Rosecrance

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- "If we can provide a seamless transition for those incarcerated into the community, we can reduce rediicivism and crime." These are the words of David Gomel, President of Rosecrance as he talks about a new contract signed between Rosecrance and the Winnebago County Board that targets inmates in our jail system.

The Alternative Jail Program has been around for years but now Winnebago County is part of an agreement to continue this program thanks to the Winnebago County Board. Gomel says, "We identify people within the jail who have a substance abuse disorder, we need to provide care for these individuals so we can keep them from re-offending, re-committing the crime and and going back to jail. If we can engage while they're in services, then transition to the outpatient model, we do so and it's highly effective."

Today in our jail system, Rosecrance found the following statistics:

1. 68% of people in our jail have a diagnosable substance use disorder.
2. 31% of women an 15% of men in jail have a serious mental illness
3. Opoid overdose related deaths are at greatest risk within the first two weeks of release of incarceration
4. Only 11% of those incarcerated and have addictions, get treatment for their addiction.

Because of these statistics, County Board officials say this contract is necessary to keep these services going. Chairman Frank Haney says, "The really cool thing is we give them a little bit of money, and they give us 3 or 4 times more in return value. so the community is winning because of this partnership. The county is winning. If you took that out, we could not afford to buy all provided by Rosecrance."

Dave Gomel says now that this program can continue, the much needed transition of services from in custody to out of custody programming can continue. He says, "It's important work, it's not always the most glamorous population to work with but it's part of the infrastructure of our community and I'm thankful for the board."

Under the contract, the Winnebago County Board is paying $195,000 to Rosecrance for the services. The total for the entirety of the program is around $900,000. This contract was also signed at the same board meeting where the new Community Mental Health Board was officially voted on and established. 7 members were appointed to this board from all around the mental health field.