KANE COUNTY (CBS) – Inmates battling drug addiction are now getting help behind bars through a new program at the Kane County Jail.

“Recovery Pod” is the first of its kind in Northern Illinois, CBS 2’s Vi Nguyen reports. The Kane County Sheriff Ron Hain says the goal is to help inmates get drug treatment and counseling while going through the criminal justice system.
It comes at no cost to taxpayers.

Jail is the last place where Deandre Bluford wants to be, but it’s also the same place where he knows he’s getting the help that he needs.

“I want better for myself; I always want better for myself, but I didn’t know how to go about doing it,”  Bluford said. “There’s an option for everybody out there you know. You just got to take that chance and take that step to become that person.”

Bluford violated his probation, relapsed on drugs  and landed back in jail on domestic battery and theft charges. This time, he says, it’s different. He’s now one of 67 inmates who are enrolled in the Recovery Pod program.

The pod is made up of 10 dormitory-style cells. Men and women are housed separately where they can receive counseling and medical treatment while going through withdrawals.

The Kane County Sheriff’s office started the program in March in partnership with Lighthouse Recovery.

“It’s giving me hope. It gives us the direction, you know, the direction to go where we need to go in life,” says inmate John Fowler. “It’s up to us to utilize the tools.”

Fowler, 44, has been here on drug-related charges, held on $500,000 bond, since the beginning of the program.

The program costs $15,000 a month, and Hain says they are finding ways to make it work.

“The lien of this is not on the public; we’re using revenue from inmate commissary funds to offset the cost,” Hain says.

“I believe that we’re cutting edge in a very short amount of time. The common theme is nobody ever cared about me and now you
guys do.”