Ada County Jail Inmate Programs

Programs at the Ada County Sheriff's Office give inmates an opportunity to access substance abuse treatment and cognitive-based programming, as well as follow-up aftercare after an inmate is released from jail. The programs offered are foundational and are NOT inpatient treatment. Although the inmates are housed here while they attend programming, the dynamics of inpatient treatment are only introduced. Inmates can pursue inpatient/residential treatment after being released from jail.

This programming has had a positive effect on not only the inmates, but also our community as a whole. It has reduced the recidivism rate, which has a direct effect on healthcare and law enforcement costs.

Many substance abusers do not realize they have a problem until they get arrested. Available programming can give them the chance to make changes in their lives and prevent any future problems with substance abuse and criminal behavior.

How does an inmate get involved in a program?

An inmate can enter due to court order, as a term of probation, or through self-referral.

Who pays for the program?

These programs are paid for by the inmate. If an inmate cannot pay for the program, the court may offer financial help. The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare can also provide help in some cases.

Currently, ACJ offers the following programs (all are open-ended classes):

Active Behavioral Change (ABC):

ABC is a four-week program that utilizes the Moral Recognition Therapy program, an evidence-based program designed to help individuals change behavior. Moral Recognition Therapy (MRT)(link to is a systematic treatment strategy that seeks to decrease recidivism among adult criminal offenders by increasing moral reasoning. Its cognitive-behavioral approach combines elements from a variety of psychological traditions to progressively address ego, social, moral, and positive behavioral growth. MRT uses structured group exercises and prescribed homework assignments to teach and reinforce lessons.

Classes meet Monday through Friday for two hours per day over four weeks for a total of 40 hours. The cost is $200.

Substance Abuse Program (SAP)

Substance Abuse Program (SAP) helps inmates explore and understand motivations and factors behind their substance use and introduces them to future treatment alternatives. The curriculum consists of “A New Direction” published by Hazelden. The curriculum is evidence based and integrates:

  • criminal thinking 
  • addictive thinking
  • concepts of the social-cognitive theory
  • interpersonal communication skills training
  • cognitive problem solving and restructuring
  • reflective communication

Participants with co-occurring substance abuse and mental health disorders receive programming specific to these issues. This class meets over a four week period for a total of 40 hours. The cost is $200.

General Education Development (GED):

The Ada County Sheriff’s Office, in partnership with the Idaho Department of Correction, offers GED tutoring and testing in the jail’s learning center. 

Tutoring services are offered through the GED online academy with testing services offered through the GED Testing Service and PearsonVue. Inmates are first given an entrance assessment to determine their level of knowledge in five subject areas. 

They are then given a customized study plan and tutoring sessions designed to prepare the inmate to pass the GED exam. Numerous practice exams are given during the tutoring and only after the individual scores high enough on the practice exams will they be referred to the GED exam.

*A note about funding: Jail programs are intended to be self-pay. However, there is a limited amount of funding available for SAP and ABC programs in custody. Program staff is not able to authorize this funding without first receiving the Court’s order specifically noting that funds will be provided.

Exclusions to program eligibility:

  • Classification level 1, 2 or 3
  • Unable to be housed in minimum custody dorms
  • Behavioral problems in the 30 days prior to beginning a class (inmates are removed from a program if they do not maintain appropriate behavior)
  • Program fees are not paid
  • Program Rules (PDF)

Check back for updates on new programs!

Programs Staff Contacts:

Chris Saunders, Programs Supervisor (208) 577-3454

Programs TreeLine (208) 577-3400