WFYI: Peer coaching state pilot program at Delaware County jail already engaging nearly all inmates.


Nearly all eligible inmates at the Delaware County jail are taking part in a peer coaching state pilot program. Five Indiana counties are trialing the method aimed at helping people with substance abuse disorders and supporting them during and after incarceration.

The program’s official name is the Integrated Reentry and Correctional Support Program.  IRACS for short.

Delaware County Sheriff Tony Skinner says everyone besides those in maximum security and lockdown are eligible to participate, because of liability.

Travis Jester heads the program in Delaware and Blackford counties.  He says inmates have responded well to the peer coaches, because the coaches have lived their experiences, too – incarceration or substance abuse.

“I’m a convicted felon.  And now I’m a Director of Recovery over northeast Indiana.  And I feel like, if not 90, all 100 percent of the people in there that we’re working with could do my job.”

The trained peer coaches meet with inmates throughout their time in jail.  Then IRACS navigators and others continue services for at least a month after someone goes back into the community.

Blackford, Davies, Dearborn, Delaware, and Scott counties began programs in the last month or two.  Delaware County is the largest – with about 340 inmates currently at the jail.

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