Governor Peter Shumlin Monday announced the launch of an intervention program gaining attention throughout the state. It's still in the beginning stages but officials are confident it's a step toward recovery for Vermont.
The Rutland County Rapid Intervention Program is similar to Chittenden County's Intervention Program and is geared toward misdemeanor offenders fighting addiction. "We are shooting to talk to people who have committed an offense within 5-7 days. If we talk to them and refer them, then they're on their way to a contract to rehabilitate themselves," said Rutland County State's Attorney Marc Brierre.
Retired Detective Sam Capogrossi with the Vermont State Police will lead the program as community coordinator. Capogrossi will work alongside treatment providers out of the Rutland County Police Station. The program will process 5 to 10 cases a week. Participants who qualify for the program will have access to mental health services and will be required to complete treatment within 90 days. "We have been successful in a short period of time in terms of information sharing, relationship building and in terms of trying to revitalize our neighborhoods," said Scott Tucker with Project Vision.
The goal of the program is to stop repeat offenders, reduce the rate of crime and lower the costs to taxpayers -- all while tailoring the services in the program to each offender to help them get through treatment.
"We're really working with some of the most challenged families in our neighborhoods and we work very closely with the school system and anyone else who will open their doors and come on in and talk," Tucker said.
Rutland County currently has a drug rate that is slightly higher than Vermont's average. Governor Shumlin says while the program is voluntary for each county, he is hopeful this program will be adopted across the state to fight addiction.
The Rutland program will accept up to 400 participants and will cost about $136 for each person accepted into the program. Lamoille County also launched a similar program Monday. Addison County already has an intervention program in place.
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