MUNCIE, IN—A small group of community leaders gathered Thursday, August 11, at the Delaware County Jail to announce the launch of the Integrated Reentry and Correctional Support Program (IRACS). IRACS, which has successfully been launched as a state pilot program in five counties, was first discussed in 2020, when the city and county met to discuss priorities for ARP funding. Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders were quickly identified as pressing needs, and a team began working to implement a program to help incarcerated individuals reintegrate into the community and stay sober.
The IRACS program involves assessing each individual’s needs and options while they are incarcerated, and connecting them with a support team of peer recovery coaches and other professionals. As each individual navigates the steps to reentering society, their support team helps them connect with resources and stay on track.
At the press conference, Muncie Mayor Dan Ridenour noted that almost everyone in the state has a personal connection with someone who has struggled with mental health or substance use. “For me it’s very personal,” Ridenour stated. “I’ve lost family members.” In addition to ARP funds, Ridenour has committed $50,000 annually from EDIT funds to support the program. The county is contributing an equal amount on an ongoing annual basis.
Delaware County Sheriff Tony Skinner also spoke enthusiastically about the program, which is also being launched in Blackford, Davies, Dearborn, and Scott counties. “This program is going to change lives, and I’m proud to be a part of it,” Skinner said. He also indicated that the program has been very well received, with the vast majority of inmates electing to participate.
Mayor Ridenour thanked the many community partners who have contributed to the program, including the Manufacturing Alliance. Ridenour indicated that one local manufacturer has hired several IRACS program participants, and has reported higher than average performance and retention. “Ultimately, it’s about how we can limit losses and provide hope,” Ridenour asserted. “And we will be successful.”