WESTMINSTER — Carroll County Sheriff John H. Brown is kicking off a new program tohelp drug-addicted inmates at the Carroll County Detention Center.
The program, set to begin in mid-July, will be run at the county jail by certified counselors from Mountain Manor Treatment Center in Emmitsburg.
Brown said he got the idea for the program while working as an investigator for the Carroll Public Defender's Office.
"I could see there were many people who needed help, and I wondered why they were just sitting there," said Brown. "They were waiting for a bed in a rehabilitation center. I thought, 'They have a bed here. Why not bring the program here.' "
Inmates who participate in the intensive program will have to pay a $300 fee, Brown said.
Brown said he prefersthe security measures at the jail to those at outside treatment centers.
"We know we're not going to have any escapes or walk-aways here," he said. "And they're not going to get any of the stuff (drugs) they're trying to get off of, either."
Brown said he went to threelarge rehabilitation centers before finding one that was interested in providing the program.
He said that while other programs last 28 or 30 days, the treatment at the jail will last 60 days.
The Carroll County Health Department runs an Alcoholics Anonymous program atthe jail. Inmates who need more intense treatment must wait for an opening in a residential center.
Steve Zimmerman, director of outpatient services at Mountain Manor, said the pilot program is somethinghe has been thinking about for a long time.
"I always thought a lot of time was wasted by not offering such a program," said Zimmerman, who will be one of the counselors launching the treatment plan.
He said each counselor can handle up to 25 inmates, and more counselors will be added as the caseload gets larger.
The program will be targeted at inmates who are nearing the end of sentences, Zimmerman said.
When they are released from jail, inmates will be able to take part in a four-month program to help them adjust to the outside without drugs or alcohol, he said.
Similar impatient drug-treatment programs cost thousands of dollars, Zimmerman said. Mountain Manor wasable to cut the cost of this program because the jail provides housing and meals for the inmates.