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In Nashville, Jail Programs Turn Around Lives

NCJ Number
Sheriff Volume: 55 Issue: 3 Dated: May-June 2003 Pages: 38-39,62,63
Karla W. Crocker
Date Published
May 2003
4 pages
This article describes jail programs of the Davidson County Sheriff's Office (Nashville, TN.) that have sought to address the reasons why the jail inmates may have committed their crimes.
The New Avenues jail program provides inmates alcohol and drug treatment. Since its beginning in 1990, just over 2,500 inmates and family members have received services designed to stop alcohol and drug abuse and address related problems. Nearly 85 percent of the inmates who enter the program complete it. Based on the traditional 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, the program focuses on the positive and negative consequences of changing an inmate's behavior. Aftercare is an important part of the recovery process. A program called SAVE (Sheriff's Anti-Violence Effort) has the goal of countering various types of domestic violence and abuse, including physical, psychological, emotional, and sexual. In the SAVE program, inmates analyze how their past experiences cause them to react to certain people with anger, intimidation, and harassment; the program is designed to help offenders become aware of, as well as responsible and accountable for their violent and abusive behavior. Both the SAVE and New Avenues programs were developed with support by Federal grants. In 1998 the Davidson County Sheriff's Office received a 4-year grant from the Edward Byrne Memorial Grant Fund to establish and maintain a Day Reporting Center. This helped the county to move one step closer to alleviating jail overcrowding and help qualified offenders achieve positive social adjustment. As an alternative to incarceration, selected offenders initially report to the center several times a week for supervision and services while living at home. The offender moves through the program, starting with more intensive supervision services and gradually working toward less intensive supervision. Each participant must pay a monthly $40 supervision fee and obtain gainful employment. Offenders are also required to perform up to 10 hours of community service each week. Another program for jail inmates is entitled "Time to Paws," which involves partnering inmates with dogs who have been victims in animal-cruelty cases. This program focuses on members of the SAVE treatment group, and is designed to help them become responsible for behaving toward victims of violence in a responsible and caring way. Their care of the dogs follows the development of skills learned in treatment.