Dealing with the issue of substance abuse for law enforcement agencies is truly painstaking. This only gets worse when there are barriers like lack of resources and systems to ensure efforts are implemented and executed flawlessly. This is typically the scenario in rural communities, but in Indiana, two specific rural communities are making it work through effective collaboration.
Linda Chezem, Rich Myers and Judge Joseph Thomas Flies-Away are this session’s esteemed speakers to dissect the challenges and innovations employed in offender programming strategies in rural communities. Linda has extensive experience in criminal justice and is a Professor Emerita of Youth Development and Agriculture Education at Purdue University. Rich Myers is the Sheriff of Morgan County, Indiana with more than three decades working in law enforcement. Judge Joseph Thomas Flies-Away serves as a judge in tribal courts in the Southwest and is a Community Nation Building Consultant.
Specifics of the webinar include:
- Realizing that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to community issues and that a program must be tailored to the needs and situation of the community to work as intended.
- The key role of communication in implementing a successful system.
- The importance of having the information necessary to design and implement an initiative to address drug and alcohol issues.
- The challenges that Indiana rural communities are experiencing:
- Loss of trained workforce and out-migration.
- An aging population that is more susceptible to the effects of alcohol and drugs.
- Socio-economic issues related to poverty, education, and access to health care.
- Challenges specific to the law enforcement agencies in rural communities as manpower, training, and technology, systems and equipment.
- Assistance from the Indiana Sheriffs Association to address these challenges.
- Boone and Dearborn County’s In-Jail Chemical Addictions Programs that provide active and restrictive interventions through collaboration.
- Morgan County’s approach that leveraged a diversified team and decreased recidivism.
- The stakeholders that are included in the team.
- How the Residential Substance Abuse Program (RSAP) was created.
- The grant that funded the program and its success rate.
- Wellness Courts in tribal communities that employed a holistic approach.
- How alcohol and drugs impact tribal communities.
- The key components of the program that aims to provide healing to offenders.
- The court’s role in the key components.
- Some of the questions from the webinar participants were about:
- Addressing communication challenges in rural communities.
- Repairing relationships between rural and/or tribal communities.
- How the legalization of marijuana has impacted enforcement in rural communities.
Resources Mentioned During Webinar:
- Rural Indiana – A Demographic and Economic Overview
- Public Health and Equal Access to Justice in Rural America
- “I enjoyed learning about the Wellness Courts, and the components of the program.” — Claudia
- “Collaboration is built by engaging multiple stakeholders that represent the entire community rather than a few stakeholders with a narrow band of community interest.” — Michael
- “Great speakers.” — Christine