Tag Archives: Recovery

State Opens First ‘Recovery Court’ for Prisoners

Next month, in the quiet Morgan County city of Wartburg, the state Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, along with the Tennessee Department of Correction, will open what the state says is the nation’s first statewide residential Recovery Court, reports the News Sentinel.
The 24-hour, 100-bed facility, which opens its doors Aug. 1, will allow the state to divert people with substance abuse or mental health issues from prison beds, with the hope of halting the cycle of hospitalization, incarceration and homelessness that plagues many.
In a November budget hearing meeting with Gov. Bill Haslam, Mental Health Commissioner Doug Varney laid out such a plan as being a humane and cost-effective way to deal with what he sees as one of the state’s biggest problems. In 2011, he told Haslam, for the first time ever, the state saw more people seeking treatment for narcotics addiction than for alcoholism — and the state’s system was sorely taxed.
“A large number of people in jails … their core problem is really drug abuse,” he said. Such an intensive program could “change their (lives) before they ever get that far.”
TDOC estimates the average daily cost to house a prison inmate at just more than $67. The Recovery Court residential program, even being more service-intensive than existing programs, will cost an average of $35 per person per day, the state said. But it also will, in theory, save money by reducing recidivism — “repeat offenders” — by using “evidence-based” programs “proven to have a larger impact on reducing recidivism.”
The state said studies have shown the recidivism rate for people who participate in such programs is one-third that of those who don’t.
However, it should not been taken as the state going “soft on crime,” TDOC Commissioner Derek Schofield said.
“What it says is that we’re going to place people in the best option to ensure they don’t re-offend. But also, we’re going to make sure we have a prison bed available for people who commit violent offenses that harm our communities,” he said.

Recovering Lost TN Jobs May Take Five Years

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A University of Tennessee analyst says it could take up to five years before the state completely recovers all the jobs lost since the beginning of the recession.
Bill Fox, director of UT’s Center for Business and Economic Research, told the State Funding Board in Nashville on Wednesday that the state has gained back about 60,000 jobs, or about a quarter of the 220,000 lost since 2007.
Fox told the panel that the number of jobs created in Tennessee is a better measure of the state’s economic health than the unemployment rate, which he said reflects a larger number of people seeking work amid improving job prospects.
The State Funding Board is scheduled to deliver its revenue estimates for the upcoming budget year on Monday.

TEMA Slow in Making Disaster Recovery Payments

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency knows about a state audit that shows public disaster recovery money is getting paid slowly but a spokesman said there are three public assistance employees and the agency is working as fast as it can.
The performance audit by the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office said TEMA takes an average of three months, sometimes longer, to repay local costs for cleanup and repair of public property after a disaster.
“Delaying passing through of funds to county and local governments and certain nonprofit organizations can delay cleanup and recovery work, which can elevate costs and increase problems,” the audit said.

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Federal Stimulus Created 17,622 Tennessee Jobs in First Quarter of 2011

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act created 17,622 Tennessee jobs in first quarter 2011, according to a Memphis Business Journal analysis.
As of March 31, 2011, the Recovery Act created 879 projects in Tennessee with an average of 20 jobs per project. The median number created was 1.7 jobs. The 25 largest job-creating projects accounted for 81 percent of the jobs created in the quarter.
Eleven of those projects focused on creating jobs and making improvements statewide. Job-creating projects in Tennessee received an average of just under $2.8 million in federal funds.
The median amount of funds received was $297,277. The top 25 projects based on number of jobs created accounted for 55.8 percent of funds received in Tennessee during first quarter 2011.