Prison drug treatment coordinator resigns
A Chicago native who developed Bartholomew County’s first comprehensive drug treatment program for inmates left the state after resigning from the post she had held for two years.
Former prison drug treatment coordinator Theresa Patton has already moved to California, where she will be involved in several counseling projects in different communities, Patton said in a telephone interview from Rancho Mirage, Calif.
“I am a consultant by profession,” Patton said. “Usually I never work for anyone. It’s just not my thing.
It was during her tenure in Columbus that the drug treatment processes she created became known as the BART program – an acronym for “Begin, Accept, Reveal and Transform.”
While working up to 60 hours a week has almost become a norm, Patton said she never concealed that her position at the prison was temporary. When Patton arrived in Indiana after completing a series of projects in 2019, it was with the understanding that she would be moving to the West Coast in a few years to resume her consulting work, she said.
“Theresa’s qualifications far exceeded our expectations and what we were looking for,” Bartholomew County Sheriff Matt Myers said.
During his two decades of work in addiction and mental health, Patton had not only designed private residential treatment programs in Indiana and North Carolina, but also expanded existing drug rehab programs. , partial hospitalization and outpatient care for adults.
Prior to arriving in Bartholomew County, Patton also developed stand-alone treatment facilities in several states, and lectured on the treatment of concurrent disorders and psychopharmacology at universities.
Patton said she would work three to five hours a week as a consultant for the Alliance for Substance Abuse Progress (ASAP) in Bartholomew County for the remainder of this year. Focusing on areas such as program monitoring, service consolidation and finding a permanent successor, this consulting work will be done remotely via video conference or phone, she said.
On her last day, September 21, senior administrators in the Sheriff’s Department presented Patton with a plaque congratulating her on her “great enthusiasm and exceeding expectations for this position.”
“We promised we would keep people out of jail,” Patton said of the demands. “It was the mission they gave me.”
This basic responsibility was achieved by developing patient placement criteria that included software that helped Patton determine the most effective path to keep each participant away from drug relapses or further offenses.
What could be considered “above and beyond” was the addition of new programs such as trauma information care for women and a follow-up program to help inmates whose cases are blocked by. pandemic, Patton said.
“But for me, the ‘main dish’ identified the need to house recovering addicts, ”said Patton. “Not just the type of housing that everyone has been talking about for years, but the housing that is specific to the program. Work in this area will be continued by other agencies in the coming months, she said.
It usually takes five years to make a conclusive evaluation of a drug treatment program in prison, said Deputy Chief Major Chris Lane.
Nonetheless, Myers said he was confident BART would save the community millions of dollars through a significant drop in property crime, as well as a reduction in the prison population.
Myers described the program Patton created as not only one of the best in the state, but in the entire country.
“I can say this because we follow these people when they leave, and if you look at the ex-convicts and the drug addicts who have stayed sober, it has been way above anyone’s expectations,” Myers said.
Since the BART program is now well established and staffed, finding a permanent successor won’t be as difficult as finding and hiring Patton in 2019, Lane said.
“So whoever follows her won’t have all of these acronyms behind their names,” Lane said. “Theresa designed this program, so now we have to do our due diligence to find someone suitable to come in and operate the machine. “
When asked what he thought were Patton’s greatest successes, Lane said it was his ability to persuade drug addicted inmates to start thinking about where they are now and where they want to be at. the future.
Myers says her biggest attributes were her personality, empathy, and enthusiasm.
“She’s a strong woman who believes in holding individuals accountable without being judgmental,” Myers said. “I also think Theresa has been effective because she has built a relationship with her clients and really cares about their progress. This is how we change lives.
The strong community support from several agencies, including ASAP, also deserves credit for the progress and successes of the program, Myers said.