Ada County Jail Inmate Programs

Programs ExercisePrograms 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 Reconation Therapy program, an evidence-based program designed to help individuals change behavior. Moral Reconation 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 Thursday for 2. 5 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):

Inmates who are housed in minimum custody dorms are eligible to study for GED free of cost during their stay in the Ada County Jail. An instructor from College of Western Idaho (CWI) meets with the inmates to assess their individual progress and to determine if they are ready to test. The tests are supervised by CWI and cost $15 each. Note: Court funding does not cover the cost of GED testing.

Process for enrolling in any in-custody program:

Inmates may send an inmate request form to Programs staff and ask for an application. Applications are also available in housing units 1-8. Once the application has been received and the fees have been paid, the inmate will be “screened” for participation in a program. This means that our security team will review each applicant to be sure they have no behavioral or disciplinary issues that will prohibit a person from participating. Once cleared, an inmate will be placed in a class the following Monday, assuming space allows. If all classes are filled, those cleared will wait until the following Monday to begin a class.

*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)

Transitional Accountability Program (TAP):

TAP provides continuity of care for any former inmate who has completed SAP or ABC while in custody at Ada County Jail. Issues addressed within the groups include relapse prevention, health implications of substance using behavior, how to utilize community resources, and ways to internalize and improve life skills. Life skills such as how to use appropriate communication styles, reintegrating into the family dynamic, implementing a budget, and prioritizing and scheduling responsibilities are taught. All inmates participate in an instructional meeting and a process group each week. Following graduation, they are able to return as alumni at no additional cost. The cost of TAP is $7.50 per group session. Typically individuals participate for 6 to 9 months, twice per week. This class meets at 7180 Barrister Drive in the Day Reporting Center. Participants may register on any Tuesday evening at 5:45 PM to complete intake paperwork and begin the group process. Groups are two nights per week from 6:00 to 8:00 PM.

Research has shown that clients attend TAP, recidivism rates drop to 22% as compared to 55% with SAP alone.

Community-Based Programs

For offenders who have completed ACJ programs in the community and/or while in custody, we offer the Transitional Accountability Program (TAP). This program is 6-9 months in length and utilizes A New Direction-Long Term Relapse Prevention module. Cost for this program is $7.50 per group, plus a $25 enrollment fee, which covers the cost of materials. This program also helps former inmates address other transitional issues to include housing, debt reduction, family reintegration and accessing community resources. Participants attend on Tuesday nights, and one other night (either Monday or Wednesday) for process group.

We also offer ABC and SAP programs in the community. Participants attend group twice per week for 12 weeks, and the fee will be $7.50 per group session, plus a $25 enrollment fee, which covers the costs of materials. SAP utilizes “A New Direction” curriculum, and ABC utilizes “Moral Reconation Therapy”. Both groups are available during evening hours at 5:00 and 7:00 PM.

Check back for updates on new programs!

Programs Staff Contacts:
Sandy Jones, Programs Supervisor (208) 577-3493
Programs TreeLine (208) 577-3400

Did you know?

In 2009, 422 inmates successfully completed the In-Custody Substance Abuse Program, and 507 completed the ABC program. The Jail Programs Unit also has case managers available to help inmates access community resources while in custody, and assist with transition planning for their release. Case managers served 930 inmates in 2009.