Intensive Diversion Program launches at FHR Rhode Island

Published 07/21/2011

A new psycho-social educational program at Fellowship Health Resources allows participants to become eligible for dropped charges upon completion of the eight-week program

Lincoln, RI – July 21, 2011 – Fellowship Health Resources, Inc. (FHR) is working in conjunction with Pretrial Services of the Sixth District Court to provide an Intensive Diversion Program (IDP) for non-violent offenders. This new program exposes participants to mental health services and enables them to become eligible for dropped charges upon completion.

IDP participants have previously been screened by Pretrial Services to have non-violent offenses and to show signs of possible mental illness and substance abuse. “It’s very fulfilling to work with a new population who may or may not have had exposure to mental health services in the past,” says FHR Rhode Island Regional Coordinator and Director of Diversion Services Heather Spunzo. “Our program is designed to help participants develop skills in managing symptoms, stress, anger, and relapse prevention, and will teach them about community resources that can assist them with financial and vocational aspects of their lives.”

The new program was created to help participants avoid future run-ins with the law. The skills and support that FHR introduces them to are necessary steps in promoting recovery. “Currently, over half the inmates in jails and prisons nationwide have mental health and/or substance abuse issues,” says FHR Rhode Island Regional Director Bethany Goldberg. “They receive little if any treatment while incarcerated. By diverting people from the criminal justice system and providing treatment, education, and skill-building resources, we help them address the underlying causes of their behavior and to build more productive and satisfying lives. The entire community will benefit from this program.”

IDP is funded by a grant from the Bureau of Justice and is slated to last until September of 2012. “The Case Management aspect of IDP started on June 23 with two clients,” Spunzo says. “The psycho-social educational program will begin this Monday, July 25. We are slowly building on the number of participants involved as more people become eligible for the program.”

FHR provides the case management components that require participants to meet four times a week for eight weeks. Only after the completion of this program can participants become eligible for dropped charges.

For more information about IDP at Fellowship Health Resources, please contact Heather Spunzo at 491-721-5910.