MILWAUKEE Wisc. (WLAX/WEUX) – New data from UW-Milwaukee shows a program to help inmates stay clean once released is working. UWM is working with the Milwaukee County House of Correction on the project.

For people who end up at the Milwaukee County House of Corrections with opioid addiction, there’s a program to help.

Assistant professor of criminal justice at UWM Rebecca Headley-Konkel said, “The House of Corrections is identifying individuals who have opioid use disorders and are incarcerated for something kind of surrounding their disorder.”

Headley-Konkel helps the HOC track how the program is working.

“We’ve collected 343 surveys of incarcerated individuals, and now about 50 have been released from incarceration so we’re really working on these follow-ups.”, said Headley-Konkel.

The medication-assisted treatment program gives inmates Vivitrol to help curb their addiction and provides a support system.

“Medication-assisted treatment is more a holistic approach. Individuals in the program also work with case-workers and therapists, other medical personnel, and then peer specialists who are individuals who have gone down the same path and then have recovered from addiction.”

Now that people are starting to be released, Konkel is finding it’s working.

“The last time I checked the statistics, over 90% were giving positive appraisals of the program.”

The idea is that if people can overcome addiction, they will stay out of the prison system for good.

“If individuals are able to have this very structured program, that’s working on their addiction while they are incarcerated, it’s one less obstacle for when they’re released.”  The program is funded by a Bureau of Justice grant that is set to end in October 2022. Konkel is hoping the grant will be renewed to keep the program going.