by Rich Dowling. M.A., LPC, MAC
On March 26, 1999, Edward Rochford, Morris County Sheriff, Morristown, NJ, sponsored a one-day conference titled: SMART Recovery® in the Correctional Facility Setting and Community.
A notice was sent to criminal justice professionals throughout NJ with a cover letter from Sheriff Rochford, which included the following excerpts:
"Dear Criminal Justice Professionals:
Based on my experience in law enforcement, currently as Morris County Sheriff, I have come to believe that a large segment of correctional facility inmates and others involved in the criminal justice system can be rehabilitated provided they are motivated and are offered realistic, practical programs.
Two years ago I found such a program for inmates at the Morris County Correctional Facility and would like to introduce others in the criminal justice field to the SMART Recovery® Self-Help Network…
My support for the program is based on its practical approach, the interest shown by inmates, and the benefits reported by staff and demonstrated by participants…
My experience with SMART Recovery® has been positive, therefore, I encourage you to attend the workshop and take advantage of this opportunity to learn how this cognitive-behavior based program can enhance the work you do."
Forty-five criminal justice specialists from throughout NJ attended the Conference at the Morris County Fire and Police Academy. The participants represented a variety of public and private agencies, including: State of NJ Dept. of Corrections; NJ State Intensive Supervision Program; the FBI; Superior Court of New Jersey, Criminal Division; Community Corrections Corporation; Volunteers of America Delaware Valley; Martin Luther King Academy, Last Chance Day Reporting Center; private treatment centers; and Correctional Facility staff members from Cape May, Monmouth, Morris, Passaic, and Sussex Counties.
On average, attendees rated the Conference "Very Good", and 18 expressed interest in further information and training. Several indicated they plan to incorporate SMART Recovery® into their programs, and one is interested in starting a community group. A follow-up training program is planned later this year to be held in South/Central NJ.
The fact that the program was well attended and the feedback positive demonstrates the success of the Conference and considerable interest in providing the SMART Recovery® option for criminal justice clients in NJ.
Special thanks to Sheriff Rochford and the Morris County Sheriff's Office Administrative Director, Thomas S. Russo, Jr. for sponsoring and organizing the event. Appreciation is also extended to those who helped to present information related to the SMART Recovery® program, including: Joe Gerstein, MD, Immediate Past President, SMART Recovery® and Facilitator, Correctional Facility & Community SMART Recovery® groups in Massachusetts; John Gramuglia, MBA, CADC, ICADC, Clinical Director, Tulley House (Community Corrections Corporation); Melissa Lupi, M.A., Professional Advisor, SMART Recovery® and Co-Facilitator Morris County Correctional Facility (MCCF) SMART Recovery® Group for Women; Stanton Peele, Ph.D., Addiction Specialist, Author, Attorney and Member of the SMART Recovery® International Advisory Board; Christine Hastings, MSW, Case Manager & SMART Recovery® Coordinator, Volunteers of America Delaware Valley; and Rich Dowling, M.A., LPC, MAC, SMART Recovery® Professional Advisor.
There are currently 14 correctional facility meetings in New Jersey. More information will be provided in the October issue of the News & Views.
For further information regarding the SMART Recovery program for criminal justice clients or community groups, contact the SMART Recovery® Central Office.
As published in the SMART Recovery® News & Views.