WUSA9: ‘The goal should be that they never come back’ | Helping out on the road to recovery inside Fairfax County jail

WUSA9, KATIE LUSSO

Monday night, WUSA9 was invited inside the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center.

“A mistake,” explained Jose, as to why he was incarcerated about a year and a half ago. “I made a mistake with the law. I’m not faulting nobody but myself.”

He is one of the participants of the STAR program. The program is voluntary, and none of the inmates get any time off their sentence for participating. They live together with the other participants in a special unit, that serves as a therapeutic community. Together they work toward recovery for not only themselves but also their peers.

“I told myself enough is enough. I don’t want to go back to who I was,” said Jose.

On Monday, the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center, which is run by the Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office, invited WUSA9 and members of the House Congressional Addiction, Treatment, and Recovery Caucus, to learn more about the successes of the program.

“Everybody who says jail isn’t the place to get sober. This jail is. This jail is,” said Fairfax County Sheriff Stacey Kincaid. 

“Our program striving to achieve recovery is a model program not only for the locals and the state but also for the federal governments and we are hoping that this is a national program and not only can it work inside an adult detention center, but it can work outside of one,” said Sheriff Kincaid.

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One by one the people in the program, who are currently incarcerated, shared their stories of overcoming addiction.

“It just came to a point where enough was enough and I’m tired of running from this,” said one man.

“I’ve had the pleasure of going to many facilities. This is my first time here. Lord be it, this will be my last,” said a man named Eddie.

“We want to ensure that just because someone might come into the criminal justice system, the goal should be that they never come back,” said Representative Abigail Spanberger who attended the event.

Dr. Rahul Gupta, the White House Director of National Drug Control Policy, also attended. He told WUSA9 that as a Fairfax County resident, he’s proud of the “cutting edge work” that the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center is doing.

“We know that two out of three people who are incarcerated across the country, have something to do with drugs,” said Dr. Gupta.

He told WUSA9 he believes there needs to be programs like this in every correctional facility.

“So we can have more productive people who are leaving custody and reentering society. It will impact crime, economically positively, and bottom line it’s good for saving lives,” said Dr. Gupta.

As for Jose, he’s grateful for this program and ready to be the best version of himself.

“I am a different person now. I just want to have a chance to go back to society,” said Jose.

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