The grant provides offenders an intensive support program

A more than $3.2 million federal grant will allow Rutgers to provide parolees struggling with substance use disorder assistance in their recovery efforts.

The funds, granted to the New Jersey State Parole Board and Rutgers Behavioral Health Care (RUBHC), will provide support for peer recovery support services offered under the Comprehensive Opioid, Stimulant, and Substance Abuse Program that assists offenders with substance use disorder.

Incarcerated individuals will begin receiving assistance from the Intensive Recovery Treatment Support (IRTS) services approximately six months prior to their release and continue for an additional 12 months after they leave. Individualized case plans and participating parole officers will also address the specific needs of each individual.

“Rutgers UBHC is excited to partner with the New Jersey State Parole Board to further expand pre-release and post-release peer support services to individuals exiting incarceration from New Jersey State Prisons," said Micah Hillis, program manager. “Over the past four years, Rutgers UBHC has provided re-entry services across the State through the Intensive Recovery Treatment Support Program, and this collaboration with the Parole Board allows us to build upon our previous success. We look forward to expanding our wellness and recovery-based peer support services to parolees with a history of substance use, thereby reducing recidivism, relapse and overdose and providing parolees with a tremendous amount of support as they rebuild their lives upon reentering our communities.”  

Funding will expand the current RUBHC IRTS program, which includes medication-assisted treatment support. The IRTS program pairs peer health navigators with offenders who have a history of substance use disorder.

The target population to be served for this program is a minimum of 110 adult offenders who are released to parole supervision. Participation is voluntary for services up to 18 months during the three- year grant term. 

In addition, given the demonstrated need for mental health treatment services, under the auspices of this grant, the IRTS team will include a mental health clinician to provide mental health services for offenders with co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders.