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Jail to use new wings to help treat inmates with addiction

August 26, 2018

CINCINNATI (AP) — A jail in Cincinnati is adding 92 new beds to help treat inmates with substance addiction.

The beds are part of two new jail wings at the Hamilton County Justice Center that are being retrofitted from existing space, The Cincinnati Enquirer reported . The project is funded through a $2.5 million state capital grant.

The men’s and women’s wings will help alleviate jail crowding and expand addiction treatment programs for those with substance use disorders, according to jail officials.

The jail, which was built to house 875 inmates, currently houses close to 1,600, Maj. Chris Ketterman, of the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department, said. Nearly a third of the jail’s inmates at any given time have addiction, according to Sheriff Jim Neil.

The jail’s health care provider, NaphCare, has been using buprenorphine since May to help inmates detox. Workers are detoxing about 500 people a month, including close to 400 who have an addiction to opioids, officials said.

“They’re feeling better quicker, and they’re staying alive, which is our main goal,” said Maria Perdikakis, health services administrator for NaphCare.

Ketterman said the effort to expand addiction treatment is both for the current needs of the inmates and to try and prevent them from returning to jail.

Inmates also receive help with re-entry skills. They are provided with contacts and training for community services, including housing and food and jobs once they are released from jail.

Community service organizations Talbert House and Addiction Services Council are helping with treatment efforts.

County Commissioner Denise Driehaus said the new wings are a “very humane approach” to the issues the justice center is seeing.

The project is expected to be completed by the end of December 2019, according to Ketterman.

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Information from: The Cincinnati Enquirer, http://www.enquirer.com

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