Need for Peer Support Groups in Jail Diversion Programs (AOT)

Pin It

CYNTHIA CASTANEDA: “As a peer/consumer who was once involved in the justice system, I know the importance of gaining treatment… I had a few encounters with the justice system until I was forced into treatment. Going to treatment gave me the tools necessary to achieve recovery. Without those tools, I may have remained trapped in a cycle of contact with the justice system. My conclusion was that recovery was not possible without treatment. I am living proof of the results.

The GAINS Center estimates approximately 800,000 persons with mental health issues are admitted annually to U.S. jails. Among these admissions, 72% also meet criteria for co-occurring substance use disorders. I was part of those statistics a few years back, so I would like to emphasize the importance of including peer support services in jail diversion programs as a form of treatment. A peer in recovery can be more easily accepted by the criminal justice population. The consumer is more likely to listen and better connect to a peer. The results of treatment are more effective. Aside from the benefit of having lived experience, peers have the gift of being able to understand firsthand what a consumer is going through. Peer support played a role in my recovery and made it possible for me to look up to someone in a similar situation and believe that I could overcome any mental health issues and stay in recovery as they had.

by Cynthia Castaneda, ATCC West Texas Community Supervision and Corrections Department Peer Representative.

Comments

  1. Anjanette Ashby says:

    I would like to know how to become involved in the prison system being that I am a Certified Peer Support Specialist in Southeast Michigan.
    Thank you,
    Anjanette Ashby

Speak Your Mind

*