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Saratoga County Jail to open wing for inmates with addictions and inmates who are veterans

September 06, 2019 07:09 PM

MILTON - They're behind bars and they're prisoners to their addictions.

Soon those inmates who are dependent on opioids will get medical help right here.

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A housing unit at the county jail has been renovated to accommodate up to 31 inmates who qualify for medication-assisted treatment.

They'll be isolated from the other inmates so they can be treated with suboxone to help wean them off other drugs.

"So when they get released, they don't overdose," said Colonel Rich Emery, the county sheriff's corrections administrator.

"We want them to make a commitment to themselves and the other inmates that are going to be housed in this unit."

Sheriff Michael Zurlo says the new section comes at a cost of about $250,000 and like the Albany County Jail, will also house inmates who are military veterans.

"The goal is when they leave here not to come back. To make sure they have a place and an option when they leave here," said Zurlo.

Medical staff will be treating the addicted inmates right in the unit. The county's veterans' services agency will be meeting with inmates and checking on and working with the military guys who will now be grouped together.

"Getting that camaraderie that they have as veterans," said Lt. Ray Rodriguez a 20-year member of the sheriff's office and a former Marine. "Getting them out of the pods where they may not be talking so positive, put them in a positive environment."

The county says the inmates allowed in the new unit will be screened carefully.

"It's a win-win for everyone. It saves the taxpayers money and if it can change a person's life and they head in the right direction, that's the ultimate goal," said Emery.

Emery says he expects the new section to open within the next two weeks.

Credits

Mark Mulholland

Copyright 2019 WNYT-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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