N.C. Department of Correction--Correction News--January 1998
DART Changes Lives
Goldsboro - One of the first probationers to graduate from the new, 90-day therapeutic drug and alcohol program on Dec. 2 said, "Thank God for a second chance to live."
Governor Dennis Wicker prepares to present a certificate
|Jerry Roberts said he was at the lowest point of his
life before coming to the new Drug and Alcohol Recovery
Treatment Program. His addiction to marijuana, cocaine,
then crack led to his arrest and subsequent loss of his
wife and children. He said he learned how his selfish
addiction had hurt a lot people.
Although he was not sure what to expect, the intensity of the 90-day Goldsboro drug program gave Roberts confidence and self-esteem, essential for his success. He thanked members of DART for their honest concern and hard work in helping him and the 31 other graduates.
Judges who feel an offender needs intensive drug or alcohol treatment may send that person to this seven-day-a-week, 24-hour-a-day, Therapeutic Community Program. Its the department's only free-standing 90-day residential program.
Manager of the new DART program, Michael Rothwell, said his staff tries to instill responsibility and accountability by taking a more holistic approach to treating drug and alcohol addictions. "If you just treat the addiction and dont address the behavioral aspect, youre only making a sober criminal," Rothwell said.
Lieutenant Governor Dennis Wicker was the keynote speaker at the graduation. Although he gets numerous speaking requests each day, Wicker requested to speak to this group because of how strongly he believed in the program. He told the graduates, "A lot of peoples reputations were put on the line (in creating this program). Youve had your knocks, lost self esteem, but people still believe in you, North Carolinians believe in you. We want to see people succeed. I challenge you to not let this be the end of your learning experience, but the beginning."
In addition to Wicker, the 32 graduates heard from the executive director of Stayn Out, a New York City treatment facility. He said there are three things necessary for change, attitude, behavior and lifestyle. Ron Williams explained that man is a social animal, the reason why ex-inmates go back to their same lifestyle, to what is familiar and comforting.
"The hardest test is ahead when you hit the streets," Williams said. "Your entire social network vanishes when you leave prison. The only person whos welcoming you back is the one who got you into prison. Some who are arrested are rescued. You guys were rescued. Thats why, 90 days later, you dont look the same as when you walked in the door, nor do you feel the same."
Correction Secretary Mack Jarvis said, "Everywhere you look around you today are people who want you to succeed."
Rothwell named Assistant Secretary Lattie Baker as the one responsible for establishing the therapeutic program, saying that North Carolina is a leader in the nation when it comes to treatment.
The 32 graduates will receive another 90 days of outpatient treatment from places such as area mental health facilities, the Department of Corrections Day Reporting Centers, Treatment Alternatives to Street Crime (TASC), and other drug treatment programs.
Currently, there are 96 men participating in the next cycle of therapeutic drug programs.
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