Drug treatment options available in South Dakota prisons

KELOLAND.com Original
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — When an inmate enters prison, they are assessed for mental health and substance use disorder needs and services within 14 days, an official with the the South Dakota Department of Social Services said.

The state’s DSS provides most of the drug treatment and related treatment for the state’s prisons.

“Offenders with a need identified through the assessment process are then recommended for substance use disorder and/or mental health services,” Marilyn Kinsman, a senior policy analyst with the DSS, said.

Kinsman said while participation is voluntary, many inmates do participate in recommended services.

Two main types of addiction treatment programs are available in the women’s prison.

One program is Cognitive Behavioral Interventions for Substance Abuse, an evidence-based substance use disorder treatment program for offenders with moderate to high substance use needs.

The women’s prison also provides an Intensive methamphetamine treatment program for offenders who have a severe methamphetamine disorder and are identified as clinically appropriate for this level of care.

Kinsman said medically-assisted treatment for opioid addiction is available for offenders who have that identified need.

The women’s prison has five full-time addiction counselors, Kinsman said. But two of those five positions are vacant, she said.

The overall vacancy rate for behavioral health staff in prisons is 14%, Kinsman said. The vacancy rate for addiction only is 23%, she said.

The DOC offers two main treatment programs but also has other available assistance. 

Offenders with an identified need may be referred to other behavioral health services such as Dialectical Behavior Therapy skills group, Resilience group, Moral Reconation Therapy, individual mental health counseling and psychiatric services, Kinsman said.

“We also provide resource coordination services for offenders upon their release to ensure that treatment continues as the offender transitions back into the community,” she said.

South Dakota also has a drug court program for offenders who qualify for the program.

According to a 2018 study by the Legislative Research Council, drug court appears to be working in the state to reduce the number people who may commit another drug crime. The study said, “When comparing the costs of sending a participant to drug court versus incarceration, there is significant savings with those participants who graduate from the program. These savings are tempered in combination with terminated participants who are incarcerated for their original offense.”

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