TDOC Supports The TN Together InitiativeDepartment Creates Intensive Substance Abuse Unit At WTSP
HENNING – Monday afternoon Governor Bill Haslam announced a groundbreaking initiative aimed at combatting opioid abuse in Tennessee. This initiative, which is called TN Together, brings together all arms of the government and the community to help eradicate this substance abuse issue that is plaguing many communities throughout the state. The Tennessee Department of Correction is proud to join in that fight and stand alongside Governor Haslam by focusing on increasing substance abuse treatment options for the offender population.
As the opioid problem continues to grow in the community, TDOC is also seeing an increase in offenders with substance abuse needs. This has prompted the Department to repurpose the entire general population areas of the West Tennessee State Penitentiary to become a residential therapeutic treatment unit. This significant change will create a 500-bed, intensive, 9-12 month treatment program. According to Commissioner Tony Parker, “This treatment unit represents a 50% increase in our prison treatment capacity. This is critical because a key factor in why offenders recidivate is due to substance abuse. The Department wants to do whatever it takes to have offenders be successful when they return to the community and TN Together is a crucial step in the right direction.” In addition to the new unit at WTSP, long-term aftercare services will be offered at every TDOC facility throughout the state.
The addition of this housing unit augments the Department’s current efforts to fight substance abuse. Current efforts include, but are not limited to:
· Operating nine intensive residential treatment programs and 14 out-patient programs in TDOC facilities;
· Opening several Day Reporting Centers as an alternative to incarceration for offenders with substance abuse treatment needs and
· Partnering with the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services through the Community Treatment Collaborative to provide a variety of substance abuse treatment services to offenders on community supervision.