Detainees graduate from Exodus.Life addiction recovery program

In February of 2021, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office began what has become a very beneficial and successful collaboration with Exodus.Life as a partnering component of the Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Site-Based Program (COAP).  This program is made possible through two categories of federal grant funds awarded to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.  The program aims to reduce opioid abuse and the number of overdose fatalities, reduce recidivism, as well as to mitigate the impacts on crime victims by supporting comprehensive, collaborative initiatives.  The grant provides financial support to implement strategies that support treatment and recovery, provide prevention and education programs, increase the use of diversion, and reduce the incidence of overdose death.

On Thursday, May 19, 2022, Sheriff Lafayette Woods, Jr. joined with Exodus.Life at the W.C. “Dub” Brassell Adult Detention Center to celebrate the success of the five most recent graduates of the program.  These graduates are third group to successfully complete the eight-week prevention and education program offered to detainees.  Daily classes for the detainees were conducted by peer-recovery specialists from Exodus.Life which focuses on reuniting and educating the detainees to successfully reconnect with their families and communities.  The training they receive is geared to help to address barriers that would prohibit a graduate’s successful re-entry into society such as, but not limited to, employment, transportation, education, and legal obstacles.

The graduates participated in the ceremony by giving reflective statements of how the program has impacted them and led to positive change in their path moving forward.  They shared their appreciation for existence of the program itself and especially to the staff of Exodus.Life.

The graduates are:  Lacey Burley, Jana Wooldridge, Robert Johnson, Hunter Reynolds, and James Pearce.

Sheriff Woods said, “The success of this program is evidenced by these remarkable and dedicated graduates sitting here today and even those that have also completed the program in the past year.”  Sheriff Woods told the graduates, “Hopefully you leave these walls with something you can be proud of, that you can take with you and maybe encourage someone else who finds themselves in the same situation”.  He said, “Your experiences just may lead others to doing something different in their own life”.  Sheriff Woods remarked, “I’m overcome with joy that we can join together and change lives for the betterment of our community”.

Paul Stevens, the executive chairman for Exodus.Life, also gave personal remarks of three rules for recovery.  He expressed that relationships are where healing comes from and that the graduates need positive people in their lives.  Mr. Stevens also emphasized for the group to continue to take recovery seriously on a daily basis and to respect themselves for their accomplishments.  Mr. Stevens said, “You should not believe the lie that you are stuck in your old life style.  Make recovery your lifestyle, and serve others”.