“FOR Me” is an offender re-entry program that has served 105 participants over the past 2 ½ years. The objectives for each participant in the SAMSHA funded program are to:
- Increase the likelihood of members entering and staying in substance use disorder treatment
- Increase motivation and self-efficacy directed toward treatment
- Reduce the use of alcohol and other drugs
- Reduce the frequency of HIV and HVC risk behaviors
- Decrease mental health and trauma symptoms
- Increase self-sufficiency -through employment, housing stability, healthy social connectedness, better physical health and no further involvement with the criminal justice system
Santa Maria (SMH) delivers evidenced based practice including: seeking safety curriculum, motivational interviewing, Medication Assisted Therapy (MAT) and Substance Use Disorder Treatment in a residential setting to the “FOR Me” participants. SMH works in partnership with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to locate potential participants. These efforts are supported with program evaluation by a team at Baylor College of Medicine.
Says SMH program director and clinical counselor, Beth Gill, “The most valuable and innovative practice of the “FOR Me” program is the utilization of Peer Recovery Services. These are staff team members called coaches, who persuade the clients to come to residential treatment and then assist them in stabilization and growth by knocking down the barriers related to medical, social and mental health services”.
The focus of this program is to assist women who have been incarcerated in state prison to transition out of prison with a first stop in residential treatment. Our Peer Recovery services specialist, Coach Geneva Martinez-Belt holds regular recovery group classes inside the prison, in groups from 5-25, developing relationships with women about to be released. She uses motivational interviewing techniques to offer treatment services immediately upon release. She is the one that gets participants excited to be connected to the recovery community. Coach Geneva travels to the state prison and picks up the women on their release date and brings them directly to SMH for an open treatment spot or for a safe holding in an emergency services bed until such time as a treatment bed is available.
Coach Geneva Martinez-Belt comes to us with “lived experience” of long-term drug and alcohol use. In recovery since 1993, she has been in prison herself and can relate to the loneliness and hopelessness found among the women. She is able to offer treatment and a community to them. She becomes the go-between and mentor.