The Kittitas County Jail is getting an $800,000 federal grant for its program to treat inmates with substance abuse problems.

The grant will support the jail’s program to increase nursing staff and counseling services.

The jail says its booking records show that arrestees who live in Kittitas County are less likely to be re-arrested if they participate in the program.

The new grant is 25 percent larger than an initial federal investment in the program three years ago.

The jail's program in known as Medications for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD), which started under a similar $600,000 grant in 2020

Its impact on recidivism has grown larger during the three initial years of the program. The jail says the MOUD program also lower the risk that people who use opioids will overdose a short time after release from incarceration.

According to the jail, the MOUD program does not reduce criminal sentences or give inmates special privileges, but does offer the opportunity to change destructive behaviors like opioid use.

It says the results can have a positive impact on both the offender and the community they’ll return to.

The grant is from the U.S. Department of Justice. It includes funding for independent research into the effectiveness of the MOUD program.

Central Washington University Law and Justice Professor Roger Schaefer has produced recommendations to strengthen ties between Kittitas County Jail programs and community support services after release.

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