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Wenstrup tours CASC, talks to clients

The Clermont Sun

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Clermont County, August 4, 2016 | Meghan Waters (202-225-3164) | comments
The names of the Community Alternative Sentencing Center clients mentioned in this story have been altered to protect their identities.

Clients of the Community Alternative Sentencing Center delivered rave reviews about the program to Rep. Brad Wenstrup when he toured the facility on July 27.

“As far as this program goes, I believe you’re saving lives,” John Smith, CASC client said.

CASC, which opened in August 2013 and is currently operated by Clermont Recovery Center, provides an alternative for misdemeanor drug and alcohol offenders. It offers substance abuse treatment, life skills classes and educational and workforce services.

“I thank God for this program, compared to where I could be,” Michel Clark, CASC client said.

Clients are referred to the center, which is located in a separate wing of the Clermont County Jail, by municipal court judges for a period of anywhere from five to 90 days.

“When I came here, I didn’t realize I had problems; now, I realize I do,” Jeffery Thomas, CASC client said. “This place has changed my whole outlook.”

At present, the center has 25 beds available for clients, and only men are admitted.

CASC, a one-of-a-kind program in Ohio, was launched in recognition that recovery treatment can restore productive lives.

“One thing I do understand is the power of addiction,” Wenstrup said to the clients. “We don’t want a generation of Americans to be lost; we want you to have the opportunity to have the lives you want to have. Hopefully, this is a good program, and it gets you to where you want to be.”

He added, “I hope that as you go through this that you’re treated with respect and people understand that this is a human condition and that we need to treat and deal with it; addiction is a physiological condition that any one of us could find ourselves in.”

Another client further expounded on the criminalization of drug addiction.

“It is a health issue, and there’s no rehabilitation that takes place in a corrections facility,” client Alexander Troupe said. “All it does it take someone off the street.”

He added, “But, allowing somebody to learn something while they are here is inherently better for the community and the individual.”

Troupe said that lessons that clients learn at the CASC will reduce their rate of recidivism.

“So more programs like this, in my opinion, are going to be much better for everyone,” Troupe said. “Especially with the heroin epidemic, people are dying every day.”

Click here to read the original article in The Clermont Sun.
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