Back on Track - Alternative Sentencing Program Provides Valuable Insight

A grueling work assignment away from home, combined with extreme boredom during his off hours was the unfortunate mix of circumstances the first time Taylor used a painkiller to get high.  Living in a trailer and working with two other friends on a one-year work detail in a remote small town, the conditions were right for the then 24 year-old to make a regrettable choice. 

“In this tiny town in the middle of nowhere Virginia,” says Taylor, “there was an abundance of prescription pain pills available.”  What started as casual recreational use soon became habitual – and when the pills got scarce and expensive, Taylor turned to the cheaper and more readily available option – heroin.

The job he had held and loved for five years went away when the drug use took over, and Taylor moved home to his dad’s house in Clermont County to work for the family business. 

“My dad knew something was up, but we never talked about it,” he says.

As the drug use continued behind closed doors, the tenseness of the situation also continued to build.  Knowing his son was in need of help, Taylor’s dad reported that his car was being driven by an unauthorized driver, and Taylor was arrested, his first run-in with law enforcement, ever. 

Once Taylor’s drug use was confirmed, the judge offered him 30 days in the Community Alternative Sentencing Center (CASC), which is a collaborative effort between the Clermont County commissioners, sheriff, jail staff, municipal court and GCB.  CASC, available by recommendation from the judge and then offered to the individual as an option, is an alternative to jail for misdemeanants who are convicted of drug or alcohol-related crimes. It includes substance abuse and mental health treatment, as well as educational and vocational services.

A CASC counselor challenged Taylor to work on himself more.  “I decided to really invest myself and get everything I could from this program,” he says. “I wanted tools and accountability.”  Nearing the end of his sentence, there was an opportunity for Taylor to move directly into a GCB recovery home, where other men live and support each other.  “These guys all have jobs and responsibilities,” says Taylor. “I’ve been hanging around good people.” 

Taylor is still receiving on-going care from GCB’s Batavia campus and attending Narcotics Anonymous meetings regularly.  He’s currently looking forward to getting his career back on track and is actively looking for work in his field. Today, Taylor and his dad, who was inspired by his son’s journey to give up alcohol, are very close.  “We talk every day,” he says. “My dad is my biggest supporter.”

Since September, 2015, CASC has had more than 500 admissions, with an 84% completion rate. Those who complete CASC treatment are less likely to be rearrested, a GCB study shows. Clients are connected to outpatient treatment at Clermont Recovery Center after their release.  The collaboration allows for a continuity of care between the criminal justice and behavioral health services.