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Second Annual Rallies for Recovery Held at RIDOC in Recognition of National Recovery Month

In recognition of National Recovery Month, the Rhode Island Department of Corrections, the Rhode Island Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals (BHDDH), and the Rhode Island Recovery Month Coalition will host the second annual Rallies for Recovery, beginning with a public kickoff event on Friday, August 31, at 10 a.m. in the Pathway to Recovery Garden of the Bernadette Women's Minimum Security Facility on the Pastore Complex in Cranston.

Jim Gillen, Director of Anchor Recovery Community Center, will again serve as host for the rallies and the kickoff event and will provide an introduction to the meaning of National Recovery Month. A recovery quilt made primarily by women in recovery in the Bernadette Facility will be featured, the first known recovery quilt to be put together behind the walls. Other quilts made by men and women in recovery will also be displayed at the kickoff along the new Roberta Richman Pathway to Recovery, adjacent to the Pathway to Recovery Garden.

Guest speakers at the kickoff will include emcee Doreen Collins, the Honorable Governor Lincoln Chafee, Ashbel T. Wall, Director of the Rhode Island Department of Corrections (RIDOC), Craig Stenning, Director of the Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals(BHDDH), Dale Klatzker, President and CEO of the Providence Center. Stephanie Coolbaugh, Holly Cekala, and Rachel Johnson, three women in recovery in the community, will speak as well as a few of the women in Bernadette who have completed the Providence Center's substance abuse treatment program and participated in creating the recovery quilt.

The dates and times for the additional individual Rallies for Recovery behind the walls will be: Friday, September 7, 2:30 p.m. – Men's Minimum Security, Multipurpose Room Monday, September 10, 1 p.m. – The John J. Moran Medium Security Facility, Visiting Room Monday, September 24, 1 p.m. – Gloria McDonald Women's Awaiting Trial and Medium Security Facility

"Last year, we made history by becoming the first prison system in the country to hold rallies for recovery behind the walls" says Corrections Director A.T. Wall. "Holding these events at the RIDOC is a way for us to acknowledge the efforts of these incarcerated men and women to turn their lives around, give a voice to those who are in recovery, and to reinforce the message that treatment does work and recovery is possible." Craig Stenning, Director of BHDDH said of the rallies, "Prisons are a natural setting in which to hold recovery rallies given the high percentage of inmates who have some type of substance abuse issue. We are pleased to once again have the opportunity to partner with the RIDOC for the motivational rallies. Our work in this area has received national attention."

During the individual prison rallies, an artistic inmate in each building has designed a poster of a tree, and each inmate in recovery will be given a leaf on which to write his or her name, the date of his or her recovery, and any sentiment about the recovery process he or she wishes to share before placing his or her leaf on the tree. A number of inmates in each facility will share heartfelt accounts of their recovery. Music and poetry will also be included in the programs.

According to recently appointed Assistant Director of Rehabilitative Services Elizabeth Earls, "Those offenders participating in the Recovery Rallies have begun the hard work of overcoming their addictions by engaging in treatment while they are incarcerated. They need our continued support and the support of their families and communities to sustain their recovery. We strive to ensure that returning offenders' recovery outlook will be brighter by providing access to continuous care after they leave prison. They will be enrolled in treatment programs in the community so their recovery will be sustained."

National Recovery Month is an initiative of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA's) Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT), within the Department of Health and Human Services. The goal of this initiative is to increase the understanding of behavioral health and reinforce the message that prevention works, treatment is effective, and people can and do recover.

A large public rally will held at Roger Williams Memorial Park on Saturday, September 15th, beginning at 2 p.m. and concluding with that night's Waterfire, to formally kick off National Recovery Month in Rhode Island.

Any member of the press who wishes to attend any of the facility rallies or the public kickoff event outside of Bernadette must contact Tracey Zeckhausen at (401) 462-2609 in advance to secure clearance. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- About the R.I. Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals BHDDH is committed to assuring access to quality services and supports for Rhode Islanders with developmental disabilities, mental health and substance abuse issues and chronic, long-term medical and psychiatric conditions. In addition to planning for the development of new services and prevention activities, the mission of the department includes addressing the stigma attached to these disabilities.

About the R.I. Recovery Month Coalition The Rhode Island Recovery Month Coalition includes treatment and recovery service providers, family members, and friends and advocates for recovery. The coalition strives to improve the quality of life of veterans and other individuals in recovery and highlight their accomplishments.

About the R.I. Department of Corrections The mission of the Rhode Island Department of Corrections (RIDOC) is to contribute to public safety by maintaining a balanced correctional system of institutional and community programs that provide a range of control and rehabilitative options for criminal offenders. Our guiding operational philosophy includes maintaining appropriate safe, secure, and humane correctional environments while providing for community-based management, supervision, and intervention services for criminal offenders. The RIDOC's six prisons and one jail house a total of approximately 3,200 inmates. The Department also has oversight of approximately 25,000 men and women on probation and parole in Rhode Island.

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