VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — After having difficulty bringing help into the Vigo County Jail due to COVID-19, Sheriff John Plasse says he is excited to be able to open their doors to people who worked to help those dealing with substance abuse.

For the sheriff’s department, rehabilitation is their main goal. Help inmates prepare for life after they are released.

The Wabash Valley Recovery Center is now working inside the jail to help inmates come up with a plan to deal with their substance abuse. To help in their efforts, the United Way donated $50,000 to be spread over two years.

For many recovery coaches they know first hand how addiction can affect someone’s life.

“We have lived experience. I myself I’m in recovery myself. I’ve been to jail,” said Deanna Griffin, peer recovery coach for the Wabash Valley Recovery Center. “I know how it is to be scared and not know what to do next. Having somebody to walk along side you to kind of say hey I’ve been where you been before. I can help you along the way.”

Sheriff Plasse believes people who have walked in their shoes will be someone inmates can better connect with.

“Who better than a person who has overcame that,” Sheriff Plasse said. “Beat the addiction and is now wanting to help others that are in the same situation they were in. That’s a true public servant.”

Even after being released, the recovery center stays in contact with them for a year as they help them navigate their way through life.

“When you’re in here you’re kind of in a controlled environment,” Sheriff Plasse. “When you’re out and life goes on, a lot of things happen. I think for them not to have that is crucial.”

Griffin says it’s all about what you out into the program. If a person is willing to put in the work, then they can truly change their life.

“We don’t wan to set them up for failure. We want to get them connected for change, having something to accomplish,” Griffin said.

The Wabash Valley Recovery Center is current working with the Vigo and Parke County Jail’s but they are looking to work with surrounding counties as well.