The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia


February 18, 2014

Strong weapon

Finally, it feels like someone has been listening.

Often in this space, we have said that longer-term, community-based substance abuse treatment should be one of the weapons in the arsenal for fighting the war against drugs.

Now the West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety is organizing a pilot program to do just that.

Three area counties — Fayette, Raleigh and Mercer — are among the nine that will expand their effective substance abuse programs to offenders in the community.

Mercer Delegate John Shott calls it a “major step” in the right direction.

“Basically, it is intended to provide courts and judges with additional options to help treat people that need help,” Shott said.

Additional options. That falls right in line with what we have been saying for years.

The program arises from the Justice Reinvestment Act of 2013, a law proposed by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to reduce criminal recidivism while tackling inmate crowding in West Virginia’s prisons and jails.

It recommends increasing rehabilitation services for offenders who show a high risk for re-offending and a need for substance abuse treatment.

“This will be a coordinated effort between the court system and other programs that work with substance abuse,” Shott said.

Military Affairs and Public Safety Cabinet Secretary Joseph Thornton says programs offered in prisons are effective, but the lack of community-based services for offenders represents a significant gap.

The establishment of such community-based treatment opportunities promises to close that gap and offers offenders a better chance at being successful, law-abiding and productive members of society.

Prosecutors in some counties already offer short-term treatment programs, but they often end too soon.

At the request of Tomblin, $3 million in committed funding is budgeted for the current fiscal year, said Lawrence Messina, communications director for the West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety. He said that as the word gets out about the pilot project, the state is hoping to hear from rehabilitation centers and agencies that wish to be involved in launching the program.

That is our hope as well. We believe that most people who have a substance abuse problem would rather get clean — and stay clean. This program will be a strong tool in making that a reality.

Text Only
  • Rain? What Rain?

    Community still enjoys auto fair despite uncooperative weather

    July 23, 2014

  • Do tell

    It’s hard to keep a secret in today’s here-a-camera, there-a-camera, everywhere-a-camera world. Whatever one does that is embarrassing is immediately posted on YouTube, Facebook or other social media of choice.

    July 22, 2014

  • Juvenile justice

    West Virginia nearly doubled the rate it sent youths to juvenile facilities from 1997 to 2011, in contrast to declining rates of youthful incarceration elsewhere in the United States.

    July 20, 2014

  • Thumbs — Saturday, July 19, 2014

    July 19, 2014

  • Do something

     Johnstown police have charged three men in the brutal murder early Sunday of a city academy student.

    July 18, 2014

  • Showcase

    For White Sulphur Springs, there’s hardly enough time to catch a breath.

    July 17, 2014

  • Bon appetit

    Agriculture and farm products can help diversify state economy

    July 16, 2014

  • Generous

    Outsiders can say what they will about West Virginians — but they can’t say we’re stingy.
    Time after time after time, we band together to help our neighbors out of a jam, aid someone down on their luck or otherwise in a bad way.

    July 15, 2014

  • Reminder

    Study points out old, new problems with W.Va. roads

    July 13, 2014

  • Thumbs — Saturday, July 12, 2014

    July 12, 2014