- Incarceration for drug-related charges costs Texas taxpayers over $52 million per year.
- The state of Texas provides a variety of treatment programs intended to reduce recidivism, including S.A.F.P.F.
- Participants struggle to complete these programs for a variety of practical and logistical reasons.
- Caring support from The Way Back helps participants successfully graduate and become contributing members of society.
- Your generous support makes it possible for us to empower individuals, restore families, and create safer communities.
Providing support and reentry services for recovering addicts is one of the most impactful things a Texas citizen can do to reduce the burden of drug abuse, crime, and poverty in 2024. According to Wise Voter, Texas has the highest prison population in the United States with 133,772 individuals incarcerated. Let’s look at the problem, how The Way Back’s reentry program in Texas is helping, and how you can join us in our mission to reduce recidivism.
Illegal drug use significantly contributes to incarceration in Texas. In fact, in 2022 alone, 78,896 adults were arrested on drug-related charges, and 6,384 juveniles were referred to the justice system, according to The State of Texas Legislative Budget Board. 19% of individuals initially sentenced on drug-related charges and released from prison are incarcerated again within three years. This represents a small slice of a greater problem: many individuals lack the support and resources to break the cycle of addiction and thrive after reentry.
The Way Back maintains a 6% recidivism rate, well below the 19% state average, because we work with each client to address their individual needs, challenges, and concerns as they move from crisis to stability.
How much is incarceration for drug-related charges costing Texas taxpayers?
In Texas, the average daily cost to the state for incarceration is $77.49 per person -- and for state jail substance abuse programs, the cost is an average of $9.07 extra per person, according to the Criminal and Juvenile Justice Uniform Cost Report from Fiscal year 2021 to 2022. For the reported 1,649 individuals incarcerated and receiving treatment for drug-related charges, that equals over $52 million in cost to taxpayers per year.
How is Texas reducing recidivism rates for addicts?
Wise Voter relates, “The state’s approach to criminal justice, which prioritizes punishment and incarceration, has resulted in a significant number of individuals being housed in its prisons. However, it is important to note that efforts are being made to address this issue. Texas has implemented criminal justice reforms and initiatives focused on diversion programs, rehabilitation, and reducing recidivism rates.”
The state of Texas provides multiple rehabilitation programs, including The Substance Abuse Felony Punishment Facility (SAFPF) / In-Prison Therapeutic Community (IPTC), the Pre-Release Substance Abuse Program (PRSAP), the Pre-Release Therapeutic Community (PRTC), Intermediate Sanction Facility (ISF), and others. We want to spotlight the SAFPF program since many of The Way Back’s clients participate.
What is the Substance Abuse Felony Punishment Facility (SAFPF) Program?
The SAFPF treatment program is a probation program involving intense outpatient counseling and group therapy sessions. The goal of this program is to help participants learn the tools of sobriety and avoid relapse and recidivism. The multi-step process includes:
- Six to nine months of in-prison treatment
- 12-15 months of mandated support groups
- 12-15 months of community supervision (probation)
This rigorous program is designed to fully equip individuals to live a drug-free life upon completion. Graduating from this program represents a tremendous amount of discipline, dedication, and overcoming a variety of challenging obstacles.
Challenges in Completing the SAFPF Program
The SAFPF program is very beneficial to individuals, their families, and the community. However, participants face significant challenges in successfully completing the program. After exiting the in-prison treatment program and completing the residential aftercare portion, participants must:
- Attend mandated group sessions 3x per week. They schedule their lives around this.
- Get a phone and call a designated line every day. If their color is selected, they have to report to court for a test.
- Attend court check-ins as required. Cannot miss, or they cannot graduate.
- Get an ID and other documentation so they can work.
- Secure a job with a schedule that works with the mandated sessions.
- Find reliable transportation to group, court, and work.
- Secure housing that is safe and affordable.
- Manage stress in healthy ways without relapsing.
- Avoid old patterns of survival that led to incarceration in the first place.
As you can imagine, completing the program without support is very difficult or nearly impossible for many people. That’s why The Way Back chose to provide support services for SAFPF program participants. It directly aligns with our mission to reduce recidivism: empowering individuals, restoring families, and creating safer communities.
How does The Way Back help participants graduate from the SAFPF program?
We provide loving support for program participants as they complete the mandated steps of the SAFPF program. The Way Back’s reentry program in Texas pairs each participant with a staff member they can call or text any time, someone not connected to their court supervision. They can be honest with us when they struggle, and we provide practical help, including:
- Help with acquiring an ID and vital documents
- Clothing, food, toiletries, and other basic needs
- Bus passes and other resources for reliable transportation
- Enrollment in medical and optical care
- Referrals for mental health services
- Employment opportunities
- Alternative housing options
- A caring person they can call or text
- Support in their faith/religion, if desired
What is the best way to reduce recidivism in Texas?
To address this important issue, support The Way Back so that we can continue to expand our reentry services and support for recovering addicts. Because of faithful and generous support from people like you, our clients maintain a 6% recidivism rate, well below the average rate of 19%.
Further, our clients increase their average monthly income from $183/month at intake to an average of $2,295/month at program exit – a 1,250% increase. In short, instead of returning to incarceration and further draining taxpayer resources, they become contributing members of society.
Finding transportation and employment is critical to an individual's ability to stay out of prison and become stable. By donating to The Way Back, you help us continue our fruitful work as we equip recovering addicts for a second chance upon reentry. Please consider a monthly donation of $30 to help us empower individuals, restore families, and create safer communities.