Next step: Bartholomew County Jail hires new addiction treatment coordinator

Theresa Patton has joined the Bartholomew County Jail staff as the new addiction treatment coordinator, developing a treatment program for jail inmates. Submitted photo

Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department has completed a lengthy search for a qualified addiction treatment coordinator, hiring an Indianapolis-area drug treatment specialist for the job.

Bartholomew County Jail officials said Theresa Patton, from the Indianapolis area, has accepted a job offer and has begun working at the jail.

Last summer, both city and county officials agreed to jointly fund the salary and fringe benefits for the coordinator, who will develop the jail addiction treatment program curriculum.

While Patton will have a starting salary of $65,000 annually, her yearly wages are expected to eventually rise to $70,000, jail commander and Patton’s immediate supervisor Maj. John Martoccia said.

Initially, after advertising the position through many venues, Chief Deputy Sheriff Maj. Chris Lane said late last summer that the department had received very few resumes from qualified candidates.

One significant reason why it took longer than expected to fill the job were the hefty requirements, Lane said in an earlier interview. According to the published job description, the addiction treatment coordinator must have a master’s degree or equivalent social services discipline with three years post-graduate work experience.

In addition, the coordinator must be licensed as a clinical social worker or mental health counselor, with certification as an addiction specialist, the description stated.

Patton has been working in the field of addiction and mental health for over two decades, according to a news release from the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department. A native of Chicago, Patton has extensive experience in addiction and mental health treatment — especially in the designing of residential treatment programs, according to the sheriff’s department.

Programs designed by Patton are located at facilities in North Carolina, as well as Indiana. She has also expanded existing programs for detoxification, partial hospitalization and outpatient care of adults. In addition, jail officials say Patton holds specialty credentials issued in Illinois, Indiana and North Carolina.

Patton has routinely lectured on treating co-occurring disorders and psychopharmacology at North Carolina universities. She has also been asked to develop freestanding treatment facilities to meet residential treatment needs in several states.

She has declined media interviews at this time, according to the department, saying she wishes to focus on getting the jail treatment program up and running as soon as possible.

The original goal had been to hire someone as soon as possible after the job posting at the beginning of August, and have the program operational by the beginning of 2020, Lane said. But since it took over three months to fill the position, the start of the addiction recovery program will likely be delayed, according to sheriff’s department officials.

Patton and her husband, insurance account manager Ron Patton, have two adult children.

[sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”About the job” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]

From group counseling, to counseling individual inmates and finding ways to assist them, the job of the jail addiction treatment coordinator also entails providing program elements of helping offenders. That could include assistance in remaining in recovery, finding jobs, developing life skills, improving parenting skills, leadership development, communication skills and family education.

[sc:pullout-text-end][sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”About the program” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]

The purpose of the addiction treatment program at the Bartholomew County Jail is to reduce recidivism by offering inmates with substance abuse problems evidence-based treatment.

Those accepted into the program are separated from the general jail population, and provided help to develop life skills to re-enter the community after being released from jail.

Since the formation of the Alliance for Substance Abuse Progress in Bartholomew County in the spring of 2017, the jail addiction treatment program has been regarded as one of the most essential concepts in the community’s efforts to fight substance abuse.