Twenty three female inmates in the Timpanogos Correctional Facility were honored for completing substance abuse treatment Tuesday with a graduation ceremony.
The Excell program provides a way for female offenders with a history of substance abuse to better prepare themselves upon release from the Utah Department of Corrections. Greg Hendrix is the program’s director. He says the graduation days are some of the most rewarding to him and his employees.
“To have a father come up afterwards and say, ‘Thanks for giving us our daughter back, she looks like we’ve always remembered her,’ that is what makes this so worth it. And that’s what we get out of this and that’s why I love doing the treatment,” he says.
Most of Wednesday’s graduates will be paroled in the coming months. Because of the therapy Excell provides, Department of Corrections say recidivism rates among those who completed the 9-month program have dropped by forty percent. Brent Wade, a substance abuse counselor for the program, says much of the success inmates experience in the program is a result of their determination.
“They can change if they want to. We tell them it’s up to you. We give you the good information to better your lives and if you want it bad enough, you can have it,” he says.
The Utah Department of Corrections has three graduations a year for the Excell program members. There are also two similar programs for males, known as ConQuest and HOPE.