Tennessee Awarded $600,000 Grant to Reduce Recidivism

Monday, February 07, 2011 | 06:49am
NASHVILLEThe Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities (TDMHDD) in collaboration with the Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC) and the Board of Probation and Parole (BOPP) received a grant of $600,000 from the U.S. Bureau of Justice Assistance to reduce recidivism rates among incarcerated women with co-occurring mental health and substance abuse disorders. 
Integrated Recovery Integrated Services (IRIS), which will begin in February, will work with community behavioral health and recovery service providers to help adult females currently incarcerated in the Tennessee Prison for Women successfully transition back into the community. Services will begin four to six months prior to release and will continue four to six months after release and will provide intensive and comprehensive clinical treatment, recovery support, transition planning and case management services to approximately 74 females over the next two years. 
“By effectively addressing the mental health and substance abuse needs of this population, we can successfully re-build lives and continue to decrease the number of women who might otherwise return to prison,” said TDMHDD Commissioner Virginia Trotter Betts.
The IRIS Program builds upon existing collaboration between TDMHDD, BOPP, TDOC, and community treatment and recovery support providers. Services will be provided through The Next Door, a community agency focused on helping women who are re-entering society from incarceration, rehabilitation, or homelessness by addressing the physical, mental, and spiritual needs of women in crisis.
BOPP Chairman Charles Traughber agreed on the importance of the services to female offenders. “The Board of Probation and Parole is focused on keeping communities safe. By getting female offenders with mental health or substance abuse needs into qualified treatment, we can help them address their issues so they can lead more productive lives as law-abiding, taxpaying citizens.”
"This grant is an exciting development. The Tennessee Department of Correction provides residential mental health services to a number of women in the state and recidivism for offenders with mental health disorders, especially co-occurring disorders, is higher than for those without a diagnosis,” said TDOC Commissioner Gayle Ray. “We believe the services provided by the grant will have a very positive effect on the women receiving them.” 
For more information about the IRIS Program or for more information about mental health and substance abuse, please contact the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities at 615-253-4812 or http://www.tn.gov/mental.

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