|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:||Media Contact: Deanna LeBlanc|
|October 27, 2020|
The Norfolk Sheriff’s Office is proud to announce the first graduating class of our medication-assisted treatment program (MAT). On Monday, October 26th, 12 men received certificates of completion for the inaugural program.
MAT, which is funded through a Dept. of Criminal Justice Services Grant, is an intensive 12-week counseling and behavioral therapy program designed to treat substance abuse disorders. Three days before their scheduled release, participants will also be given an injection of Vivitrol – a drug that blocks the effects of opioids and helps to prevent relapse. The Norfolk City Jail is the first on the Southside to offer this wrap-around program.
“It wasn’t easy. Especially opening up and sharing and trusting some of our most trusted secrets amongst total strangers,” one participant shared in a speech at the ceremony. “You taught us how to look into the mirror of truth and fix the things that were broken in our lives… Thank you for caring about us especially when most of us didn’t even care about ourselves.”
Sheriff Joe Baron set a purpose for the Norfolk Sheriff’s Office in 2019 to make a positive difference in the lives of others as far as we can reach.
“96% of the people in our care are going to return to our community. How they return is up to us,” Sheriff Joe Baron said. “If we can make a positive difference in their lives by offering evidence-based programming, the hope is not only will we reduce recidivism but we will make lasting changes in our neighborhoods and for our city.”
“When I go home and get out of here I’m going to try to talk to the troubled youth out there so they don’t make the same mistakes I made,” explained another graduate. “I lost my mom, my dad, my brother, my daughter. I’ve been through a lot.” “I used to be a part of the problem, I want to be part of the solution now.”
Mayor Kenneth Cooper Alexander was in attendance at the ceremony, as well.
The Norfolk Sheriff's Office is a values driven organization
committed to public safety, public service, and public trust.