HANCOCK COUNTY — County officials will spend $18,000 to reserve beds for local offenders at a women’s recovery center in Indianapolis.
Four beds at the Dove Recovery House — one of the area’s leading drug-treatment facilities, local officials say — will be set aside for the next year for female offenders from Hancock County who have agreed to enroll in treatment programs as part of their sentences.
The deal comes amid an ongoing local effort to get opioid addicts counseling in hopes of cutting down on the chance they’ll reoffend. In the program — referred to by the court as the heroin protocol — offenders, after pleading guilty to their crimes, agree to serve time in a halfway house or similar facility rather than in traditional lockdown.
But it’s difficult to find space for women in recovery centers in Central Indiana, said Amy Ikerd, who runs the heroin protocol. Male-only treatment programs outnumber ones that are reserved for women or are co-ed, and as a result, female addicts are usually left in jail longer than their male counterparts, waiting for bed space at a facility to open up, Ikerd said.
Now, four beds will be readily available to women involved in the heroin protocol, freeing up much-needed bed space in the female block at the Hancock County Jail and giving more women an opportunity to seek treatment, Ikerd said. She anticipates the beds now available at Dove Recovery House will consistently be filled by local probationers enrolled in the heroin protocol.
Offenders who agree to the protocol — about 10 are allowed to enroll at a time — are required to spend at least 14 days in jail to detox before heading to a halfway house, typically located in Indianapolis, for at least 90 days.
The contract and price for reserving the beds at Dove House is similar to an agreement that exists between the facility and Marion County, officials said.
The $18,000 the county agreed to pay the Dove House is essentially a big donation, said Wendy Noe, the director of the facility.
A 90-day stay at the Dove House costs about $2,300; but the women who complete the treatment program there don’t ever see a bill, Noe said. All women stay at the Dove House free of charge thanks to the financial support the facility receives from the community, she said.
So, the money Hancock County agreed to pay covers the cost of seven women’s stays at the facility, but there is no limit to the number of Hancock County women who can visit the place and use those reserved beds, she said.
Hancock County’s contract will last a year, at which point local officials can decide to renew it for an equal or an extended period of time, said Prosecutor Brent Eaton, who took the contract with the Dove House before the county council and commissioner’s recently.
Dove Recovery House first opened its doors 16 years ago and is dedicated to serving all women in Central Indiana who suffer from addiction, including women who are homeless, uninsured or unable to pay for treatment. Thirty-eight women can live at the Indianapolis center at a time, according to the organization’s website.
The 90-day treatment program offered there has a 77 percent success rate, according to statistics posted on the facility’s website; and 94 percent of women who successful complete the Dove program do not commit another crime.
It’s that success rate, particularly the assurance that women who pass through the Dove House successfully won’t land back in jail, that drew local leaders’ attention, Eaton said.
This investment in treatment and counseling for local offenders, especially in a program that seen great success, he said, will hopefully lower local crime rates and cut costs elsewhere.