Westcare Drug Rehab Program

May 5, 2008 9:51:10 PM PDT
It's been one year since the state passed a bill to offer non-violent drug offenders a chance to clean up, get a job and become self-sufficient. There's only one hitch the offenders must volunteer to stay in a drug treatment program for an extra five months.26 year old Brian Cross of Bakersfield says he's been in trouble or on probation for as long as he can remember, he started smoking pot in fifth grade and was running guns and drugs at the age of 15.

Brian Cross, Program Graduate: "My family was telling me 'we're done with you. We don't ever want you coming by or anything like that if you're going to just continue to do this and I was like man what am I gonna do?"

Cross is one of several convicted felons with a drug history who was offered a chance to take part in "SB 1453" he was already in a mandated drug program as part of his sentencing. But he opted to stay at Westcare. The drug rehab facility for an extra five months. During that time offenders are connected with a full time job and must find a place to live that they can pay for. 75 percent of what they make is put into a savings account. If the offender successfully completes the program, he's off parole.

Brian Tuttle/Program Graduate: "I thought about it. If I could just stay clean those five months get established with something those five months, I get off parole, I don't gotta worry about violations. I don't gotta worry about prison, I don't gotta worry about police."

Rashid Frye/Westcare Program Director: "You can make another life for yourself without going back and committing crimes."

Rashid Frye is one of the program directors at Westcare he says unlike parolees who leave prison with 200 dollars and no place to go his graduates leave clean, sober and ready to make their mark in life

Rashid Frye/Westcare: "My guys will leave after the five months on the low end maybe 12 to 15 hundred dollars and that's after they get, say, a one bedroom apartment."

Brian Tuttle not only works two jobs but he bought himself and his mom a car. Brian cross has made amends with his family and is working full time but he's hoping new regulations in the army will allow him to enlist.


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