From addicts to graduates

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47 inmates graduate from 50th SHISAP class

Forty-seven men incarcerated at the Bossier Parish Correctional Facility in Plain Dealing graduated Feb. 24 from the 50th class of the Steve Hoyle Intensive Substance Abuse Program (SHISAP).

SHISAP is a substance abuse rehabilitation program that was recently recognized for its efforts to treat and support offenders and their families.

The SHISAP program moved from Forcht-Wade Correctional Center in Keithville to the Bossier Sheriff’s Office jail facilities in Plain Dealing in July 2012.  Just as its names implies, the program follows an intensive treatment plan, which includes individual and group therapy, as well as a family recovery program.

Dr. Susan Tucker, licensed Clinical Psychologist and Program Director, says each year SHISAP seeks to graduate 1,200 men from its program. She says monthly they average about 50 graduates from the six to 12-month intensive treatment program and another 50 for the 90-day re-entry program.

She says, “SHISAP has an 80 percent success rate where the men also earned off their sentences for completing the program, saving Louisiana tax payers $13 million over a three-year period.”

Dr. Tucker also thanked Bossier Sheriff Julian Whittington for not only keeping the program in place once he took office but allowing it to expand to 600 beds, reaching more offenders in need of services.

“As law enforcement officers, we see all too often how drugs and alcohol impact the choices people make that lead to their arrests,” said Sheriff Whittington. “Dr. Tucker and her team of psychologists and counselors work tirelessly to rehabilitate those incarcerated with substance abuse problems so they can learn to contribute to their community, not their criminality.”

SHISAP graduate Anthony Davis also received his High School Equivalency diploma, and he said the program was a huge success for him, both in helping him get sober and helping him achieve his dream of being a high school graduate.

“I lived my whole life as an addict,” said graduate James Taylor.  “They taught me being an addict is not the way to go. This is the longest I’ve been sober in years.”

Some of the graduates were released from prison following the ceremony as they completed the sentences, others transferred to a work release program at other corrections facilities, and some remained incarcerated here as they complete their time in jail.