ARC: Addiction Recovery Counseling
On October 6, 2006, Full Circle opened the first comprehensive addiction treatment program ever offered at San Quentin State Prison. Never done anywhere before as far as we know, ARC’s counseling staff is made up of the highly trained inmates doing their CAADAC certification internships for the ACT program. This, along with the all-volunteer supervisory and administrative staff and support from CAADAC and the Bay Area addiction treatment community, make this program possible currently at no cost to the State.
ARC Phase 1:
ARC is a 16-week program of peer counseling, case management, and education services. Space and budget considerations currently keep down the numbers served to a maximum of 50 inmates.
ARC’s program is modeled after state-of-the-art addiction treatment centers, offering
- individual and group counseling by highly trained inmate peer counselors
- 48 classes on understanding addiction, relapse prevention, and life skills such as anger management, parenting and relationship skills, stress reduction, time management, safer sex, goal setting, communication skills, emotional intelligence, addiction and criminal behavior, and much more
- connections to self-help groups in prison and post-release
- an ongoing in-prison aftercare group and an alumni association
- re-entry planning, coaching, and referrals to community recovery and support resources, including sober living housing, self-help meetings, aftercare groups, family services, job placements, educational services and other vital services.
- post-release follow-up, as funding permits, to measure effectiveness and offer assistance.
Inmate peer counselors work under the clinical supervision of experienced addiction treatment professionals (all volunteers up to this point; grants being sought because of expanded time requirements in this and future phases).
ARC Phase 2:
Full Circle is collaborating with community-based programs, such as Options Recovery Services in Berkeley, that offer services needed by parolees to provide a seamless re-entry continuum of care, starting with in-prison addiction treatment, vocational rehabilitation, and re-entry planning, as well as post-release services, including sober housing, jobs, recovery resources, and ongoing addiction treatment and aftercare. CDCR recently awarded a Reentry Initiative grant to launch the Full Circle/Options pilot model of inside/outside collaboration. Full Circle and Options staff start reentry planning well before release. Options picks up inmates at the gate and takes them to sober housing, enrolls them in Options addiction treatment program, and provides a full range of vocational, educational, mental health and social services.
ARC Phase 3:
Plans are being developed for Full Circle Addiction Recovery Services to provide addiction treatment to large numbers of San Quentin prisoners in a prison program called STAND UP, devoted to full-spectrum rehabilitation services. When full, all of the one thousand men in STAND UP who have addiction on their record (estimates are as high as 80--90%) will receive addiction treatment.
Using inmate counselors would greatly reduce the cost usually associated with an in-prison alcohol/drug addiction treatment program. Such a program would be overseen by licensed or certified addiction professionals managing the certified or intern ACT inmate counselors.