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New Directions Northwest Inc. began providing addictions treatment to inmates in February of 1990 when a 50 bed treatment program was opened per contract with the Oregon Department of Corrections.  During the years from 1990 to 2003 the program was known as the Powder River Alcohol and Drug Program, (PRAD).  The program has been a recipient of several national and state awards for excellence in correctional addictions treatment.  Subsequent to the success of the program to give repeat offenders the skills to lead crime free and drug free lives, new Directions and its partners in the Department of Corrections began planning to expand the program to assist in treating the 80% plus population of incarcerated offenders needing addictions treatment.  

In June of 2003, the Powder River Alternative Incarceration Addictions Program, (AIP) was created subsequent to the passage of HB 2647 which was signed into law.  The program, which officially began operation on September 23, 2003, operates inside of the Powder River Correctional Facility, (a 278 bed minimum custody facility located in Baker City, Oregon), and employs 26 staff.  The program expanded to 178 beds and provides treatment to male criminal addicts who have historically demonstrated the highest risk to re-offend and return to Department of Corrections custody.  The program has a minimum duration of 270 days, (seven days a week 14 hours per day), requiring a combination of treatment and work.  All inmates are required to physically work at least 20 hours per week to gain valuable work skills and ethics, and to remain in compliance with the requirements of the Oregon Constitution.  The 270 day duration of the program may include 90 days of transitional leave to the offenders respective communities.  Inmates who successfully complete both the institutional and transitional release phases of the program, have  the remainder of their prison sentence forgiven and are placed on post prison supervision with their county of residence.  To be considered for the program participation, inmates must have an identified need for substance abuse treatment and receive a sentencing order which allows them to receive earned time credits for complying with Department of Corrections rules and program requirements. 

The program employs a curriculum of client driven - evidenced based addictions and cognitive treatment modules, treatment groups, AA and NA support groups, focus groups, community based work challenges, collaborative family feedback / support groups, and re-entry groups.   Materials are presented in formats which complement a clients learning style and incorporate individualized treatment plans designed to encourage positive decision making skills and solid support based recovery plans.  The program seeks to engage families, parole and probation officers, community partners, after care providers, the religious community, and other interested social service providers in a clients in-patient and continuing community based recovery. 

To date 85% of the inmates released from the New Directions AIP program to transitional leave, have successfully completed their transitional leave and have been released to post prison supervision.  The Department of Corrections AIP programs, of which Powder River- New Directions is the largest, has saved the State of Oregon over 4.5 million dollars during the 2003-2005 biennium, which would otherwise been spent housing inmates for longer terms in facilities where addictions treatment is not afforded.

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