GREENFIELD — Hancock County is expanding its treatment options for offenders addicted to drugs.

The county recently signed agreements with three recovery houses in Greenfield and Indianapolis for priority beds in the facilities, nearly doubling the current number of beds. Typically, 15 to 25 Hancock County offenders seek treatment in recovery houses, said Josh Sipes, chief probation officer.

On Wednesday, the Hancock County Council OK’d spending nearly $100,000 over the next two years for those spots. The money that’s due before the end of 2019 will be taken from the county’s food and beverage fund. Sipes said the probation department will budget for the remaining payments in 2020.

Over the past few years, county officials have bolstered treatment options as more people have become addicted to heroin and prescription painkillers. The probation department offers treatment programs in the county jail for inmates addicted to drugs as well as the pathway to recovery houses.

“Probation’s job is rehabilitation,” he said. “We want to make sure that our community and our county is safe.”

Inmates who enroll in the county’s “heroin protocol” program are required to transition to recovery houses as part of their sentence. Others who participate in drug court or who are on probation can also go to the recovery centers, Sipes said. The heroin protocol program typically has 12 to 20 people.

The county has already been in contract with two of the three recovery houses, but the new agreements expand the number of available beds. Sipes said the county will increase the number of beds from four to six in the Dove Recovery House, a women-only facility in Indianapolis. That two-year contract costs $48,000.

The Progress House, a male recovery house also in Indianapolis, will now set aside 12 beds for Hancock County offenders, from the previous count of eight, Sipes said. The county amended its current two-year contract with the Progress House to extend it by one year at a cost of $18,250.

Talitha Koum Women’s Recovery House, a newly opened center in downtown Greenfield, will offer four beds to the county, costing $32,000 over the next two years. The recovery house, which opened last October at 527 E. Main St., opened following three-plus years of fundraising that brought in $200,000 from the community.

Sipes said the county’s contribution of $98,250 for the recovery house pays for bed priority, not the beds themselves. The offenders who agree to move to the houses have to pay to stay there using their own money or through state funds provided by Recovery Works, a program aiming to lower recidivism rates.

The county has priority for 22 beds in the three houses, but that doesn’t mean more county offenders can stay there, Sipes said. Some pay to stay longer than the 90- or 180-day program agreed upon in the county’s contracts. If that’s the case, Sipes said that person’s spot will open up for someone else in need of treatment from Hancock County.

Out of the 10 additional beds included in the three recovery house contracts, six of those are designated for women. The number of women battling drug addiction has increased over the past few years. The Hancock County Jail typically houses 40 to 50 women, jail commander Keith Oliver said. The county also has sent 10 other women sentenced to Level 6 felonies to Daviess County.

That’s about 10 times higher than 2006, Oliver said; that year, the jail housed six women.

Sipes said the county wasn’t prepared for the increase in female inmates. Now, the jail has to reconfigure space for women; the county’s work release program is renovating its building to offer twice as many beds for women; and the probation department upped the recovery house availability.

“From the police to the jail to the prosecutor to the court to probation to community corrections, we’re all kind of working in the same direction,” Sipes said.

© 2020 Daily Reporter