CLEARFIELD – A letter from Clearfield-Jefferson Drug & Alcohol Commission executive director Susan Ford was reviewed by the Clearfield County Prison Board during Tuesday’s meeting.
Warden Greg Collins said he has been talking with the commission for a while about the possibility of more help at the jail with drug and alcohol issues.
Ford’s letter provided information about a grant the commission was able to receive from the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs that will allow the commission to embed a case manager at the jail.
Some of the duties for the case manager outlined in the letter include: initial point of screening and assessment for inmates with drug and alcohol issues, referral for in-house drug and alcohol out-patient services if appropriate, identification of inmates who would be appropriate for medication-assisted treatment, creating re-entry plans with inmates, educating inmates with opiate use disorder on the use of Narcan, and, of course, coordinating with jail personnel.
The main question asked by board members was how long the grant would last, and that was a question Collins did not have an answer for. After some further discussion, the board agreed that the benefits were enough to move forward with the program.
The board also discussed the ongoing issue of rising costs, especially in regards to medical expenses at the jail.
“The medical situation just seems to get worse,” remarked President Judge Fredric Ammerman. He added that the increase of the use of methamphetamine results in the increased need for medical care since meth is harder on the body than other drugs.
For February alone, pharmacy costs were $22,590.94 and there were also costs associated with visits to Penn Highlands Clearfield at $1,799.17, Penn Highlands DuBois at $6,147.40 and Penn Highland’s Life’s Journey at $2,215 for female prisoners.
The board has discussed in the past putting more inmates on work release and discussed a breakdown of the status of inmates at the jail, including those awaiting transfer to state facilities, those on pre-trial detention and so on.
It was determined that by status alone, over half did not qualify for work release, and then other factors make other inmates ineligible. In February there were a total of six participants in work release, with three at the beginning of the month, three added and three paroled.
Overall, the population at the jail in February began with 179 with 124 committed and 126 released. The average in house daily population was 177 and the total population was 195. The month ended with 175. There are currently 20 on home detention.
Collins also reported there was one extraordinary incident at the jail, which was an inmate-on-inmate assault. The alleged victim required stitches and the entire incident was turned over the Lawrence Township police for investigation.