State drug, alcohol rehab program changing lives

HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Eighty state inmates are about to become the first graduating class from the state's drug and alcohol rehab program. The program takes place at the Hancock County Jail, and it's one of only four Department of Corrections programs like its kind in the state.

Jail leaders say the program is making a difference in many lives and helping to put money in the jail's coffers.

"Here is the question: Do I want to become a different person?" asked Program Director Rodger McRee as he wrote on a jail house black board.

He was laying out the morning's assignment for students sentenced to the drug and alcohol rehab program.

"The program is not a faith based program, it is a scientific based program. It deals with your thinking and takes a look at where your thinking might be inaccurate, and shows you how to correct those inaccuracies," explained McRee.

He said the program has a 20-percent success rate. Some of the participants will return to a life of abusing and selling drugs. But in others, the program will plant a seed for future use.

"The program is all about you and what you make it," said student inmate Rodney Turner.

Turner said the program has made a big difference in his life and without it, he probably would have returned to his old ways.

"More than likely still thinking about how I can get out and make dope and sell dope."

The State Department of Corrections pays the jail $20 a day/per inmate to go through the program. Sheriff Ricky Adam calls it a win/win for the inmates and the jail.

"It's been huge for us. It's $48,000 to $50,000 a month coming into the county to offset our bills here at this facility," explained the sheriff.

For inmates like Rodney Turner, it means a new lease on life.

"I go back home, regain the respect of my friends, my family and my community and don't end up living under a bridge in a cardboard box," remarked Turner.

The first class will graduate from the program April 19th.

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