The Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office recently hired a Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) Re-entry Coordinator for the Cumberland County Jail.
Our new MAT Re-entry Coordinator, Jessica Verdejo is currently a full-time, double major college student at Southern Maine Community College in South Portland. Jessica’s degree programs include Criminal Justice and Behavioral Health and Human Services. Jessica began her human services career at Milestone Recovery and has spent time volunteering with the Preble Street Resource Center. Jessica’s goals as an MAT Re-entry Coordinator are to reduce the stigma attached to medications used in conjunction with other forms of treatment, reduce recidivism at the county jail, and assist individuals being released from the jail in making positive connections within our community.
For the past year and a half, the Cumberland County Jail has offered Naloxone to any inmate being released who wanted to have access to it. The belief that if the inmate had a substance use disorder or knew of someone with a substance use disorder, they would have the emergency anti-dote to assist in any potential overdose situation.
Additionally, the Cumberland County Jail has been offering Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) to any inmate at the jail who upon arrest was in an established MAT program. There have been anywhere from 15-22 inmates on the daily MAT program, since the beginning of the program.
With the funding of a MAT Re-entry Coordinator by the State of Maine, the Cumberland County Jail will now be able to develop a program whereby those inmates who were not in a MAT program prior to arrest or those inmates who have never been able to get into a MAT program can be considered for MAT if medically recommended.
We anticipate that the MAT Re-entry Coordinator will not only be responsible for participating in planning for the existing MAT program, but also working with the community and our community partners to make sure that every inmate participating in the MAT program has the necessary resources and assistance available to continue on the MAT program upon release. Lastly, we anticipate improving our ability to increase our release planning for inmates, especially those who utilize substances, as they can be the most vulnerable upon release from jail.