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Kinston program to keep people out of jail to expand in other rural communities

Published: Aug. 4, 2021 at 8:44 PM EDT
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KINSTON, N.C. (WITN) - A program in Kinston meant to keep people out of jail is inspiring other communities to do the same.

The Kinston Behavioral Health Center provides health care, including dental, medical, behavioral health, and substance abuse care, to people in their rural community who need it.

Recently, Dr. Brandy Harrell, the program manager, was selected to serve on the National Rural Justice Collaborative, who have expressed interest in implementing the program in other rural communities.

“Once you provide care for the whole person, that helps with a more healthy family, and then we have a better outcome with healthier communities,” explained Dr. Harrell.

Dr. Harrell said the program’s expansion shows the importance of this kind of care in a rural community, which is what she said is the root of the problem.

Yasmine Wade, a successful participant in the program, said her life looked very different just months ago.

“My life was horrible,” she said. “When I first lost my kids, I was in a deep depression and strung out on drugs.”

Wade struggled with drug addiction, homelessness and jail, and she said she wasn’t the mother she wanted to be for her children.

Now, after receiving therapy, medication and help through the program’s support groups, Wade said she is employed and 74 days clean.

“It feels wonderful to actually know I have a new start,” she explained.

“I’m able to start over and actually show my kids like hey look, I can actually be your mother. I can take care of you. I can give you what you’re missing, which is me.”

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