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17 inmates at Indiana State Prison are now peer recovery coaches

11 Jan 2024, Jail News, by

In Indiana State Prison, inmates achieve certification as substance abuse peer recovery coaches, fostering positive change behind bars.

17 inmates at Indiana State Prison are now peer recovery coaches - Inmate Lookup

Inmates inspire as certified substance abuse peer recovery coaches, proving that even behind bars, they’re the unsung heroes of hope and change.

During ceremonies held at the Indiana State Prison in Michigan City on Tuesday, 17 inmates successfully achieved certification as substance abuse peer recovery coaches.

Recovery Coach Allonzo Harris explained that he finds gratification and fulfillment in attempting to give back to others, aiming to be the opposite of his former self, the antithesis of a taker, and now functioning as a provider of services for other people. Moreover, being part of something greater than himself is a source of motivation for him.

This certification is part of the prison system’s RWI program, which stands for Recovery While Incarcerated. The newly certified coaches will play a crucial role by offering classes and providing counseling services.

Recovery Coach Edwin Short expressed the satisfaction of achieving something while incarcerated, dealing with the challenges within the facility, and finding motivation in having a goal to strive for. He highlighted that this sense of purpose gives him something to do every day.

Although 17 new coaches are commencing their work behind bars, the overall prison population in Michigan City stands at approximately 2,000 individuals. Additionally, while the recovery coach position does not offer compensation for prisoners, it has the potential to lead to gainful employment upon an inmate’s completion of their sentence.

Justin Beattey, the Vice President of Education and Credentialing with MHAI, pointed out that in prison, hope is often scarce, and there is a significant issue of recidivism with individuals returning after their release. He emphasized the lack of positive mentorship in such an environment.

Apart from this, Beattey highlighted the significance of training and credentialing individuals within a DOC facility who live there, are housed there, and share similar situations, demonstrating not only the possibility of hope but also serving as an example of hope in action.

Lastly, Beattey shared that in 2016, he became the 10th certified peer recovery coach in the State of Indiana, and today there are more than 800 individuals with the same certification.