FSSA Pilot Program Provides Support to Mental Health, Substance Use Inmates

The pilot program is being launched in five Indiana counties, including a local county jail.

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INDIANAPOLIS – A local county jail has been selected to participate in a pilot program designed to help individuals with mental health and substance use disorders. 

The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration’s Division of Mental Health and Addiction today announced the launch of a pilot program to engage incarcerated individuals with mental health and substance use disorders with certified peer professionals and wraparound services.

The Integrated Reentry and Correctional Support program (IRACS) is a collaboration between the Division of Mental Health and Addiction, Indiana Recovery Network, programs of Mental Health America of Indiana, and is being launched in five counties, including Dearborn County. The other county jails are Blackford, Daviess, Delaware, and Scott. 

IRACS provides support for inmates with mental health and substance use disorders upon arrival at one of the five Indiana county jail pilot sites. 

Forensic peer teams are stationed at each jail and consist of a certified program supervisor, certified peer support, resource peer navigator, reentry peer, and peer engagement coordinator, all employed by the Indiana Recovery Network’s regional recovery hubs.

Th aim of the pilot program is to divert inmates away from the justice system into treatment.

“The engagement pathways allow forensic peer teams to meet individuals as soon as they enter through the door of the jail and provide one-on-one support at a critical moment when meeting someone, where they’re at, can make all the difference,” said Jayme Whitaker, vice president of forensic services at Mental Health America of Indiana. “With the vision and funding provided by state leadership and the strong local collaborations in all five pilot counties, the IRACS forensic peer teams are meeting people at some of their hardest moments and ensuring they have someone to walk alongside them, every step of the way.”

The IRACS program is funded through June 2023 by Recovery Works. Each of the five pilot sites have received a grant of up to $500,000 to build their teams and the infrastructure necessary to support a full-spectrum reentry process that collaborates with community partners outside the jail to ensure continuity in care upon release.

If the pilot program is deemed a success, the State of Indiana is committed to expanding the IRACS program to more county jails.

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