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Why ACT?

NCJ Number
Corrections Today Magazine Volume: 64 Issue: 5 Dated: August 2002 Pages: 74-77
Beth Arthur; Robbye Braxton-Mintz; Walt Mahoney Jr.
Date Published
August 2002
4 pages
The Arlington County Detention Facility (Virginia) has established the Addictions, Corrections, and Treatment (ACT) Unit, which is a substance abuse treatment unit inside a direct-supervision jail.
The direct-supervision style of correctional management creates a safe and secure environment conducive to effective substance abuse treatment. The deputies assigned to the ACT Unit are in the unit while groups are meeting, classes are being taught, interviews are being conducted, and interaction with community representatives is occurring. This develops a mutual understanding, respect, and appreciation between the substance abuse treatment staff goals and the deputies' responsibilities. The ACT Unit operates virtually independently of the other housing units within the facility. The companion piece to direct supervision is the provision of programs based on a sound classification system, which ensures that every inmate is involved in programs oriented toward self-improvement. Staffing for the ACT Unit only allows coverage during a typical work week, during which the curriculum is presented from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., however, there is a schedule of activities during evenings and on weekends. Not only are the ACT Unit inmates expected to follow the detention facility's rules, but they also must abide by the more rigorous code of behavior for the ACT Unit itself. Department of Human Services staff in the ACT Unit are all therapists with master's degrees, most of whom are substance abuse-certified as well. The ACT Unit is designed to provide addicted inmates with a plan for recovery through participation in substance abuse education, treatment, and aftercare planning.