The Morning Blend


The Program: Prison Detox

Posted at 10:04 PM, Sep 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-08 22:04:22-04

This summer, go behind bars and behind the scenes for a first-hand look at how one small town is handling the worst drug epidemic in American history and turning the tables on the justice system with THE PROGRAM: PRISON DETOX. The sheriff and jail administrator of the Sevier County, Arkansas jail piloted a revolutionary program to save its community, which has been devastated by drug addiction, by offering qualified inmates the unprecedented chance to walk free if they graduate from a three-month drug rehabilitation program.

The series chronicles the emotional journeys of inmates, called trustees once they begin the program, who are facing upwards of 70 years in prison as they endeavor to see their prison sentences erased—if they successfully put in the work, graduate from the program and adhere to the rules set forth by its administrators. It’s their last chance at redemption, but they’ll have to reckon with their own inner demons and repair damaged relationships with family and friends, all while enduring long days and navigating the challenges of life behind bars. The program, which has a 72% success rate and is in its 14th iteration, unites the trustees with a team of specialists as they attend classes and maintain a rigorous work schedule within the jail.

While they all share a history of addiction and the desire to repair relationships with their loved ones, each trustee has a unique story. For these trustees and the rest of their classmates, the program is their last hope—the stakes couldn’t be higher.

Chris Wolcott, a native of Sevier County, began his career as a patrol deputy before becoming a K9 patrol officer who specialized in drug-related offenses. After years of witnessing the devastating effects of drug addiction within the community, he began to look for a solution that didn’t involve locking up the same people multiple times. In 2016, following a promotion to Jail Administrator, he worked with Sheriff Robert Gentry to create a rehabilitation substance abuse treatment program (known as “The Program”) for minimum security inmates.