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County jail expands addiction treatment

Monroe County Sheriff's Office
The Monroe County Sheriff's office will oversee a grant-funded program to treat drug addictions in unsentenced jail inmates.

The Monroe County jail will launch a new treatment program for people with drug addictions, County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo and Sheriff Todd Baxter announced Wednesday.

The program will offer addiction treatment services for people who are held with pending charges at the county jail in downtown Rochester. Dinolfo said it will be the first of its kind in New York state.

Other addiction treatment options are already available for inmates who have been sentenced, but the county is now expanding some of those services to people still awaiting a court hearing or a sentence.

The program will complement one for unsentenced women at the county’s suburban correctional facility, but Dinolfo said no other county jail in New York state offers this kind of addiction treatment. Jails typically house inmates for less time than prisons or other correctional facilities.

“Research shows a clear connection between untreated substance abuse and continued criminal activity,” Dinolfo said, so addressing addiction early can be a proactive way to prevent crimes in the future.

The sheriff’s office said it will create two new part-time jobs as part of the program. One of the positions will help inmates getting addiction treatment find housing when they’re released. The other will help those newly released people build new connections with their families and communities.

The program is supported by a state grant. County sheriff Todd Baxter said he expects it to help break “the cycle of repeated arrests” of people who commit crimes connected to their drug addictions.

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