17 county jails getting nearly $4M in state funding to expand drug treatment programs


A major victory Tuesday night for county sheriffs who've been fighting for funding to treat drug addiction in jail.

We've learned 17 county jails will get state money to expand drug treatment programs, after a huge fight.

Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple is celebrating.

His jail is slated to receive a portion of the $3.75 million headed to jail treatment programs.

“This is working and I think it's huge,” Apple said.

Apple says his jail treatment program, called SHARP, was one of the first of its kind in the country. Three years in, it's now a model for other jail programs across the state, treating inmates for alcohol and drug addiction while they're incarcerated.

“This will allow other facilities to pretty much mirror image our program,” Apple said.

Getting $200,000 in state funding is a huge victory for Apple, who's been fighting to expand his program with full-time counselors 7 days a week.

“We're very grateful, $200,000 will go for getting a couple of Certified Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselors on different shifts and on weekends, where now we're really struggling to give them coverage,” Apple said.

State Senator George Amedore R- Rotterdam helped secure the one-time funding in the state budget, he co-chairs the Senate Joint Task Force on Heroin.

“We fought hard,” Amedore said.

Senator Amedore says he saw a need after visiting facilities across the state, and learning the programs are working to keep people out of jail.

“We're hoping to save lives, we know this can save lives and we're also hoping to save taxpayers a lot of money,” Amedore said.

Sheriff Apple says in most county jails an average of 42% of inmates re-offend and end up back in jail, but he says in Albany County's treatment program only 14% reoffend.

That's about 28% below average.

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