Highlights is a 30 minute weekly TV show featuring organizations, events, grass-roots efforts and people who move our state and community forward in a positive way.
The show is a collaboration with Highland Hospital, Kanawha County Schools and Suddenlink Communications.
The show airs daily at 8:30 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. on Suddenlink’s channel 17.
We interviewed Bill Liscomb, Program Manager and Lesli Brooks, Mentoring Coordinator for KISRA, Kanawha Institute for Social Research and Action.
Mr. Liscomb is the Program Manager for KISRA’s Second Chance Mentoring Program. He discussed the mission of the Second Chance Mentoring Program; it is designed to help non-violent offenders reclaim their place in the community, stabilize their lives and achieve self-sufficiency.
West Virginia’s prison population has tripled since 1990.
The increase in prison population is almost entirely related to West Virginia’s increasing drug problem.
Possession or use of alcohol or drugs was cited in 78% of technical parole revocations and 65% of revocations for new crimes in 2011.
Why Give a Second Chance
The participants of the Second Chance Mentoring Program are non-violent offenders who have paid their debt to society. A supportive positive role model at this crucial time in their lives can mean all the difference in making their transition back into their community successful.
Ms. Brooks talked about her role as the Mentoring Coordinator, which is recruiting and training mentors to work with individuals in the program. She explained the qualifying ‘mentees’ are between the ages of 18-39. They have about 75 mentors and they are looking for more.
Please call them if interested at 304-395-6059.
They both are excited about their upcoming conference ‘Strengthening Families in West Virginia’ scheduled for November 2, 2016 at the Embassy Suites.
They both discussed the Harm Reduction Clinic at the health department.
Harm reduction is a health promotion effort that offers participants the availability of education on reducing sexual and drug-use-related health risks, HIV counseling and testing, referral to drug treatment and other health care services.
Syringe exchange programs, which are part of harm reduction, provide sterile syringes and collect used syringes to reduce the transmission of HIV, viral hepatitis and other blood borne infections associated with the reuse of contaminated injection equipment by drug users. They have distributed 84,123 syringes since the program’s inception. They also collect syringes and have had 44,207 returned. The return rate is 80 percent and continues to trend upward.
Access to sterile syringes spares lives and saves taxpayers money. The Institute of Medicine has concluded that: “The cost-effectiveness of needle exchanges is estimated to range from $3,000 to $50,000 per HIV infection prevented.”
They began their harm reduction program on December 2, 2015 and had eight clients. At their October 12, 2016 clinic, they saw 163 patients. Three weeks before wthey saw 166 patients, which is the highest since the program’s inception. They see a number of returning patients because they realize the harm reduction clinic provides a safe environment. They have had 3,264 visits to the clinic and have 1,143 patients who participate in the program.
They recently expanded their hours; now the clinic operates 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. on Wednesdays.
For further information on the Harm Reduction Clinic, contact them at 304-348-6493.
If you would like to learn more about the Highlights TV Show, contact Host and Executive Producer Jim Strawn at 304-348-1417.
Special thanks to our Assistant Producer, Hali Wheeler.