A new state program that offers care coordination and recovery services, including peer support, to people transitioning out of prison, those on probation and parole, and people at risk of incarceration will officially launch on Feb. 1.

The Free Through Recovery program was created out of the state's justice reinvestment initiative, which allocated $7 million for behavioral health treatment for people on parole and probation.

The aim of the program is to reduce recidivism, while helping former inmates struggling with drug and alcohol abuse disorders.

Fifteen community vendors located across the state will be providing services through the program.

The North Dakota Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and the state Department of Human Services kicked off care coordinator training this week in Bismarck, where first lady Kathryn Helgaas Burgum met with providers and thanked the group for being what she called "pioneers."

"There are many paths to recovery, and, as care coordinators, you will have the rewarding yet challenging opportunity to connect individuals to housing, employment, social supports, peers and clinical services," she said.

Next week, peer support training for people who struggled with addiction and now want to help others will be offered in Bismarck.

For more information on the Free Through Recovery program, visit www.behavioralhealth.dhs.nd.gov/addiction/free-through-recovery.

(Reach Blair Emerson at 701-250-8251 or Blair.Emerson@bismarcktribune.com)

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Education and Health Reporter