Assistant Director of Rehabilitative Services Roberta Richman is pleased to announce that Lauranne Howard of Smithfield has become the RIDOC’s Substance Abuse Coordinator, replacing Larry McDonald who retired in the spring. Ms. Howard has been in her new role since early May and brings many years of experience in the field of substance abuse, mental health, and criminal justice. She is responsible for the coordination and oversight of all substance abuse treatment within the RIDOC. Her duties include facilitating, with other appropriate RIDOC personnel, substance abuse treatment placements post-release either at the end of sentences or upon parole and acting as liaison with the courts and community substance abuse treatment providers for alternatives to incarceration.
“I felt the skills and knowledge I brought from the public sector could be particularly helpful in the prison setting,” Ms. Howard says. “I have been very impressed with the level of substance abuse services available to the inmate population.” She goes on, “there are more services here for people with addiction than I was aware of.” Approximately 75% of the RIDOC’s inmate population has some kind of substance abuse issue. As to how she likes the job so far, she states, “I love working here. Everyone is very helpful, accommodating and though we have resource challenges, we can accomplish whatever we decide to do. There are very dedicated, committed people here and I have been impressed with how well I have been treated.”
One of the things Ms. Howard is doing in the early days of her tenure is going out to meet with community service providers, letting them put a face with the name (in many cases they know her through previous work) and encouraging them to call her if any issues should come up.
Just prior to joining the RIDOC, Howard served as a Clinician with Family Resources Community Action’s Northern Rhode Island Visitation Center. Her role there was to help develop a new visitation program in northern Rhode Island which provides supervised visits and recovery coaching to parents who have had their children removed from their custody by DCYF due to substance abuse. Before that, she worked as a Counselor with CODAC’s Behavioral Health Outpatient Program, as a Family Advocate with East Bay Community Action, as Program Manager of Phoenix Houses of New England’s Women’s Transition Program, and as Executive Director of Eastman House, Inc. Early on in her career, she was the Associate Administrator of the State of Rhode Island’s Substance Abuse Detoxification Unit and Training Planner with the state’s Division of Substance.
Ms. Howard is a licensed chemical dependency professional and she is certified as an Advanced Chemical Dependency Professionals II, a Recognized Clinical Supervisor, and Internationally Certified Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor (I just received the certificate). She received her B.A. in Psychology and Social Work and her M.A. in Counseling, both from Rhode Island College. She also holds an Associate’s degree from the Community College of Rhode Island in psychology.