In May 2022, we welcomed Micah Hillis and Corey Kuebler of Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care and Peter Treitler of Rutgers Center for Health Services Research to discuss New Jersey’s Intensive Recovery Treatment Support (IRTS) Program. This first-in-the-nation support initiative was designed to provide recovery-focused assessment of needs, linkage to treatment, and comprehensive re-entry support for individuals with opioid and other substance use disorders leaving incarceration. In the IRTS program, peer health navigators — individuals with lived experience with the criminal justice system and/or with substance use disorder — have a central role and work closely with an interdisciplinary team consisting of case managers, nurses, and others.
In this webinar attendees heard how peer health navigators help individuals transition out of prison and how they draw on their own life experiences to promote the eight dimensions of wellness for the individuals served. Presenters described how the program was developed and how it is currently implemented through a partnership between the NJ Department of Corrections, the NJ Department of Human Services, and University Correctional Health Care, the state correctional healthcare provider. Presenters also shared findings from the program’s evaluator, Rutgers University Institute for Health, demonstrating the impact of IRTS.