Department of Corrections and Community Supervision

New York State
Department of Correctional Services
Eliot Spitzer, Governor
Brian Fischer, Commissioner

Contact: Erik Kriss
Office of Public Information
(518) 457-8182

For immediate release:

November 20, 2007

Work Release Inmates in Upstate New York Receiving Community Drug Treatment

Work release inmates with chemical dependency issues at upstate New York correctional facilities have begun receiving enhanced outpatient substance abuse treatment in community settings under contracts between local providers and the New York State Department of Correctional Services (DOCS).

The contracts are the result of a memorandum of understanding between DOCS Commissioner Brian Fischer and Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) Commissioner Karen M. Carpenter-Palumbo. The contracts provide community-based outpatient chemical treatment services for non-New York City participants of DOCS’ Comprehensive Alcohol and Substance Abuse Treatment (CASAT) program.

The MOU is in effect for the year that began March 1, 2007.

The outpatient chemical dependence assessment and counseling services are provided by not-for-profit, OASAS-certified agencies. Up to $500,000 is available for the services through a federal grant being administered by OASAS.

Work release participants are chosen by DOCS through a careful screening of inmates who are close to completing their prison sentences. Under work release, inmates leave correctional facilities to work jobs in the community or to gain on-the-job training. Some return to work release facilities daily, some return several days per week, and others live in the community. The program turns inmates into taxpayers who are better prepared to reenter society. Successful participants have lower rates of recidivism.

Drug testing is mandatory in work release, and only 0.7 percent – 120 of 17,372 drug tests performed in 2006 - were positive.

DOCS Commissioner Fischer said: “Successful treatment is key to helping chemically-dependent inmates deal with the addictions that landed them in prison in the first place. These services are an essential part of the Department’s re-entry initiatives. They will help CASAT work release inmates around upstate New York adjust to real life outside correctional facilities in a way that will help them meet their future responsibility as productive, law-abiding citizens.”

OASAS Commissioner Carpenter-Palumbo said: “This partnership provides the opportunities for incarcerated individuals to overcome their addiction so that they can make a successful return to society. OASAS is pleased to fund the Department of Correctional Services’ Work Release program where certified chemical dependence treatment programs are providing critical treatment that will ultimately smooth the transition of those suffering from addiction back to the community.”

Here is a breakdown of the contracts by region:

Buffalo Correctional Facility inmates (males) are receiving services from Alcohol Drug Dependency Services (ADDS), Inc./Family Addiction Outpatient Services (FAOS) in the city of Buffalo. ADDS/FAOS has provided a multitude of substance abuse treatment services for criminal justice system clients for many years.

In the Albany area, Hudson Work Release inmates (males and females) are receiving services from two providers, Twin County Recovery Services, Inc., and 820 River Street, Inc. Twin County Recovery Services, Inc. is located close to Hudson Work Release Facility. 820 River Street, Inc. has a history of providing substance abuse treatment services to criminal justice clients for many years. 820 is also providing services at a satellite treatment center in Queensbury.

For Rochester Correctional Facility inmates (males) and Albion Work Release Facility inmates (female) who live or work in the Rochester area, DOCS has a contract with Genesee Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, Inc., of Albion, which has the ability to provide services in rural areas. The agency is finalizing an agreement with Strong Recovery (operated by the University of Rochester), which is close to the Rochester Correctional Facility and provides a multitude of substance abuse treatment, mental health and other counseling services.

For inmates (males) at Fishkill Work Release Facility, DOCS is in negotiations with Lexington Center for Recovery, Inc. to provide services.

Once all of the agreements are finalized, an estimated 170 outpatient substance abuse treatment slots will be available to CASAT Phase II participants assigned to Upstate New York work release facilities.

CASAT is a three-phase program beginning with six months of residential substance abuse treatment in a correctional annex followed by Phase II (community re-integration with a usual minimum of six additional months of treatment) and Phase III (parole supervision).

Phase II participants are required to obtain and maintain employment, and participate in ongoing substance abuse treatment services and support programs in the community. Participants enter Phase II on average 7.2 months before they are no longer under DOCS’ custody.

Phase II CASAT participants in the New York City area already have access to 390 outpatient treatment slots.