North Carolina Department of Correction news release

MAY 16, 1997

RALEIGH - A new program being launched this summer at two North Carolina prisons will work with youth during their imprisonment and return to the community to teach them not to drink alcohol or use drugs.

SARGE, the State Alliance for Recovery and General Education, will target youthful offenders in North Carolina prisons and training schools. Tests indicate 56 percent of the youth entering prison last year have a drug or alcohol problem.

"We need to reach youth early and help them overcome problems with drugs and alcohol so they can get their lives in order," said Correction Secretary Mack Jarvis. "Tackling drug problems is a way of making their first time in our custody be the last time."

SARGE is a treatment program funded through a U.S. Justice Department grant awarded to the Department of Correction by the Governor’s Crime Commission. SARGE will operate treatment units at two state prisons for male youth and four training schools in the Division of Youth Services of the Department of Human Resources.

"Over half of the youth who enter our prisons have experimented with alcohol or drugs or they may come from a family with a history of chemical dependency problems," said Lattie Baker, assistant secretary at the Department of Correction. "We want the youth who enter this program to go home and live a productive, drug-free life."

SARGE units will operate at two prisons: Sandhills Youth Center at Raeford and Morrison Youth Institution at Hoffman, and at four Youth Services facilities. Each unit will have about two dozen treatment beds.

The grant awarded in January 1997 provides $613,000 the first year and $1.05 million the second year.