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Washington State- RSAT Jail and Prison Based Programming

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $580,444)

According to a recent survey of Washington state jails, approximately sixty percent of those incarcerated have known or suspected substance use disorder (SUD), including opioid use disorder (OUD), at intake. OUD among incarcerated individuals can lead to increased risk of early death, hepatitis C and HIV. Untreated OUD perpetuates the cycle of incarceration, making it highly likely that an individual suffering from OUD will keep circulating back through the correctional system. Upon release, individuals with OUD may enter back into the same environment where their substance use originated, putting them at high risk for relapse, and while incarcerated, their tolerance for opioids is reduced, putting them at high risk for overdose.

Although there are some jails offering medications to treat opioid use disorder (MOUD), not all Washington state jails offer a full MOUD program. A recent Washington State University study showed only 37% of WA state jails surveyed provide MOUD to every individual identified as having an OUD. Barriers include funding, staffing, stigma, and logistics. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), with MOUD, the relapse rate for those with OUD decreases to 50% at one year. Medication for opioid use disorder (MOUD) is effective and improves mortality, treatment retention, and remission.

The Washington State Health Care Authority Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery (DBHR) will continue to implement the Bureau of Justice Assistance Residential Substance Abuse Treatment (RSAT) program. The purpose is to provide residential, evidenced-based chemical dependency treatment for incarcerated individuals with a moderate to severe diagnosis for substance use disorder with aftercare supports at Jefferson County Jail, Island County Jail, and the Washington State Corrections Center for Women.

Project activities will include focusing on the individual’s substance use disorder and other behavioral health-related needs and developing the individual’s cognitive, behavioral, social, vocational, and other skills. RSAT subcontractors within the three correctional facilities will provide trauma-informed treatment, creating individualized treatment plans that are periodically updated with progress, providing medications for treatment of Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD), and preparing individuals for a successful community reintegration by assessing for aftercare needs and scheduling follow-up appointments with community agencies prior to individual’s departure.

Date Created: September 14, 2023