A select group of Inmates in the Macon County Detention Center have initiated their first steps toward overcoming their addictions thanks to a program implemented by the Macon County Sheriff’s Office and Appalachian Community Services. From drug related arrests or sentences for drug charges to probation violations, breaking and entering and other crimes a group of female Inmates have voluntarily began taking part in the “Prime for Life” treatment program being offered while incarcerated in the Macon County Detention Center. The participants have been in jail for nearly 90 days for a variety of reasons explains Macon County Sheriff Robert Holland. “All of the participating inmates have identified drug or alcohol addiction as a contributing factor for being in jail and each of them have volunteered to attend the week long program in an effort to get on a new path once released into society.”
The first all female group of inmates to complete, “Prime for Life” marks the third session in the Macon County Detention Center in an effort to encourage and help inmates break their addiction. It is an evidence-based motivational treatment program to address drug and alcohol abuse and decision making skills for life in general. “Prime for Life” is offered at various times of the year at the detention center and is instructed by Howard Dowdle with Appalachian Community Services. Appalachian Services provides mental health, substance abuse and developmental disability services to the seven western counties of North Carolina. The program is currently funded through an existing budget line item, the sheriff’s office’s “Second Chance Program.”
The third session of “Prime for Life” with ten female participants began on October 17th and concluded today with nine graduating the class. A tenth inmate bonded out prior to the conclusion of the program. Sheriff Holland presented each of the participants with Certificates of Graduation and Sheriff Holland took the time to remind each of the ladies participating that they had something in common, “Each of you are loved by someone and don’t let anyone tell you that you are not important members of our community.” He concluded with, “Once released, we have given you someone to contact to help you with your sobriety and your new life but if for any reason you should fail please don’t give up. You can succeed and taking this class shows you have the will to do so. Please do so not only for those who love you, but just as important, do it for yourself.”
Today’s graduating class all agreed with the statement of one of today’s graduates, “Being locked up is the best thing that ever happened to us. If not for my incarceration and having time to get my head clear from drugs and alcohol I would have never asked or agreed to get any kind of help.”
Since starting the “Prime for Life” program in 2017 the Macon County Detention Center has had 28 inmates graduate from their program.