DARKE COUNTY — A day-reporting program (e-jail) for women is due to start this week thanks to the Targeted Community Alternatives to Prison or T-CAP program administered by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections to keep “low level” criminals out of the prison system.
Darke County Chief Adult Probation officer James Mollette shared how the program began two years ago thanks to a grant and in partnership with Recovery and Wellness Centers of Midwest Ohio. It was first offered in the county jail to both male and female inmates with chemical dependency classes to address the issues that brought them to jail.
A counselor from Recovery and Wellness facilitates the class which creates, “a point of contact when they get out of custody,” explained Mollette. As inmates transition to outpatient services, they already have familiarity with the agency.
For those individuals not in the prison system, the program is coined as e-jail or electronic jail, where they report five days a week to Recovery and Wellness on the corner of Fifth and Walnut streets.
“Where they get similar services they would get in the jail,” explained Mollette, with John Tabler, the Darke County senior probation officer, co-facilitating the classes at Recovery and Wellness.
Along with the chemical dependency classes, those in e-jail learn life skills that include budgeting, parenting, and nutrition in partnership with the Darke County OSU Extension Office.
The e-jail program began in the spring for men. Every weekday morning starting at 8:30 a.m., an average of six to ten individuals meets. They are provided a healthy breakfast with options such as fruit and granola before classes get underway. A physical fitness piece is offered at least once a week, such as walking or jogging, even yoga.
“It’s more of an opportunity for the probation officer to be able to talk with them, coaching and mentoring,” said Mollette. He expressed appreciation for Tabler’s work and their partnership with Recovery and Wellness. “We couldn’t do it without [them and] we’ve partnered with them with many things.”
In fact, Recovery and Wellness Centers of Midwest Ohio and the Darke County Adult Probation will be hosting a “Better Life BBQ” from 4 to 6 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 19, at the YOLO Urban Park in downtown Greenville. This free event is to encourage, educate, and support community members in recovery and their loved ones. There will be free food, a supportive environment, and fun activities for all ages, and is open to the public.
When asked about the T-CAP program’s success, Mollette said it has been a positive experience for everyone. He shared how one participant was grateful for the structure the program provides. It was the only reason he was able to stay out of jail, their participation extending beyond the sentence requirement.
Just having that conversation with the participant, said Mollette, reaffirms that what they are doing is working. He again stressed the involvement of Tabler and Recovery and Wellness are two key pieces to the program’s success.
“It would not be going as well without them,” said Mollette.
Reach reporter Bethany J. Royer-DeLong at 937/548-3330 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Read more news, features, and sports at DarkeCountyMedia.com.