Legislators commended the results of the Steve Holye Intensive Substance Abuse Program and other programs created by psychologist and Assistant Warden, Dr. Susan Tucker, in a House Concurrent Resolution (HCR3), signed by the Speaker on February 25.
The HCR3 authors pointed to multi-million dollar cost savings to the state because of shorter incarceration times of those offenders who participated in the psychological programs designed and delivered by Tucker and her team at the Bossier Sherriff’s Office, Medium Correctional Facility, located between Benton and Plain Dealing, Louisiana. Dr. Tucker has been working on reducing the rates through her comprehensive, innovative, and evidenced-based programs, to improve lives, families and community safety.
The legislators also noted that, while the programs were effective in shortening sentences of certain offenders, these efforts also helped offenders reintegrate into their families and communities and lower the risk of repeat offenses.
“I am very proud of our program and that we accomplish two goals which save taxpayer money but also provide rehabilitation to the substance abuse incarcerated offenders as well as their families,” Dr. Tucker told the Times. “With successful completion of our intensive treatment program, certain offenders can earn up to one year off their sentence. This is a significant savings to the public,” she said.
Fifteen hundred offenders have graduated from the nine-month program and an additional six hundred have graduated from the six-month program since it was moved to Bossier, after the Forcht Wade Correctional Center was closed due to budget cutbacks in 2012.
The Resolution authors noted that Tucker’s Substance Abuse Program has awarded more than five hundred thousand days of “good time credit” to offenders and saved the state nearly $13,000,000 during the January 2013 to December 2015 time period.
Another group of offenders have earned credits of nearly 50,000 days credit, saving the sate more than $1,000,000. And, those successfully participating in the Family Recovery Program earned 75 days of credit. Over time the program has awarded 55,000 days of credit, a $15,000,000 savings in reduced incarceration time.
“THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED,” the authors wrote, “that the Legislature of Louisiana does hereby commend and recognize the Steve Hoyle Intensive Substance Abuse Program for its success in shortening the sentences of certain offenders, while better preparing those offenders to reintegrate into their families and communities without a return to substance abuse and incarceration.”
Tucker has previously explained in an interview what she views as the basis of the program’s success: the innovations, the comprehensive approach, and the evidenced-based methods. “The philosophical approach to our treatment,” Dr. Tucker explained, “includes focusing on the thinking patterns, emotional reactions, and behavioral events that often lead to self–defeating patterns and eventually to criminal activity. We utilize psychological assessment instruments to illuminate areas of concern, including low cognitive ability, personality disorders or features, mood disorders, and thought disorders. We individualize a treatment program for that offender and he works closely with his assigned counselor to meet the goals of that treatment plan.”