In 1999, the General Assembly enacted legislation requiring that all adult and juvenile felons, as well as certain misdemeanants, undergo a substance abuse screening and, if necessary, a follow-up assessment, to identify an offender’s substance abuse problems and treatment needs.
SABRE builds on this by mandating that every first-time adult and juvenile drug offender undergo appropriate alcohol and drug testing and subsequent treatment based on the results of the screening and assessment. In addition, those receiving a suspended sentence and those released from prison substance abuse programs are also mandated to receive treatment based on this tool.(§16.1-278.01, §16.1-278.8, §16.1-273, §18.2-251, §18.2-252, §18.2-251.01) More than $14 million has been earmarked for this treatment component.
Residential Transitional Release
For those being released from prison, SABRE builds upon Virginia's nationally recognized in-prison treatment programs by developing a highly structured residential transitional release program. Adult offenders with substance abuse problems enter this program immediately prior to release from prison. To facilitate the process, legislation was approved for mandatory post-release supervision or active probation for all offenders being released from prison. (§19.2-295.2, §53.1-136, §53.1-157)
For a minimum of six months, individuals undergo a gradual release process that includes employment, community service, and treatment in a highly structured residential therapeutic environment. A high level of probation/parole supervision and peer support follows release from this program. Through a system of community imposed sanctions and penalties, as well as earned advancement of status and privileges as part of recovery, individuals are able to return to society, families, and jobs, no longer dependent upon drugs or alcohol.
A network of these programs will be developed over the next 4 years to ensure that all offenders participating in our intensive in-prison substance abuse treatment programs are released in this manner. Funding has been earmarked to establish up to 200 beds for the program by June, 2002.
Peer Support Programs
Peer support groups are a community corrections initiative to support a successful transition from incarceration toward becoming a productive and law abiding member of the community. Peer groups, both as an individual program and as a counterpart to residential transition programs, have been found to substantially reduce recidivism among drug offenders. Funding has been provided to expand this component, as well as relapse prevention services, to areas where services are not currently available.
A management oversight system within each criminal justice agency has been established to ensure that a seamless system of substance abuse services will provide effective treatment services from the correctional domain to continued treatment in the community. The system will ensure the overall quality and consistency of the services provided by state agencies in the SABRE treatment component.