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TN ROCS program growing quickly
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Desiree Brickles, the criminal justice liaison for the TN ROCS program in Warren and Van Buren counties, says the number of participants has risen in the last 14 months as she helps those in the court system who suffer with substance abuse and mental illness to find success and a new way of life.

The TN ROCS program has been serving Warren and Van Buren counties since Dec. 1, 2018. 

Fourteen months later, the program has increased from one person in January 2019 to 40 clients this month.

“The hope is that what we are doing for these people will make a lifelong difference and help close that revolving door and gap of services,” says Desiree Brickles, the criminal justice liaison for the TN ROCS program.

For those who qualify, TN ROCS (Recovery Opportunity Compliance Strategies) offers assistance with substance abuse addiction and mental health issues, which are often co-occurring. The program uses an individualistic, treatment-based approach to those who qualify within the court system.

“The TN ROCS program is a way to give clients the services they need instead of simply having them sit in jail without receiving any help for their underlying problems,” says Brian Herriman, center director of CHEER.

The program accepts referrals by the public defender’s office, district attorney’s office, judges, jail administration and community members, as well as individuals seeking services for themselves. For those who are incarcerated, assessments are conducted at the jail, and individuals not incarcerated will receive assessments at CHEER.

“Those who are working the program and doing what is asked of them are very thankful for this opportunity,” says Brickles. “They also get to see the judicial system in a different light. Other than having a negative view of the system, these clients go to court and hear the judge and attorneys say they’re proud of their success. It really makes a difference.”

The hope is to provide the proper services, help and treatment to those participating in the TN ROCS program and lower the number of individuals who become a part of the revolving-door cycle of leaving and returning to the judicial system.

“Mental health issues and substance abuse problems are very prevalent in the criminal justice system,” says Brickles. “There’s definitely a need for this program in our area. We are lucky to have a judicial system that wants to see these individuals succeed.”

If interested in learning more about the TN ROCS program, contact Brickles at 931-570-2071.