MB Government: Province Announces Opening of New Addictions Therapy Program at Women’s Correctional Centre

MB Government: Province Announces Opening of New Addictions Therapy Program at Women’s Correctional Centre

by ahnationtalk on October 5, 2020177 Views

October 5, 2020

Walking Bear Therapeutic Community will Provide a Range of Supports and Services: Cullen

A new trauma and addictions therapy unit at the Women’s Correctional Centre (WCC) will provide a positive support system and proven approach to addictions treatment for people with traumatic histories, Justice Minister Cliff Cullen announced today.

“Many women in custody are dealing with addictions, and are caught in a cycle of trauma, harm and incarceration. Our government is committed to providing a range of supports and services that address these challenges,” said Cullen. “The Walking Bear Therapeutic Community will help participants gain the tools needed to overcome addiction and return to their families and communities as healthy and contributing members of society.”

Research suggests that approximately 85 per cent of people in custody have substance abuse issues. The new program is closely modelled after Headingley Correctional Centre’s successful Winding River Therapeutic Community (WRTC), which has been in operation since 2012. A 2015 program evaluation completed by the University of Winnipeg concluded that WRTC participants were less likely to commit violent crimes after release.

“This is a significant and much-needed step in supporting women to address the often complex issues that can lead to addiction and incarceration. With the increased demand for longer-term addictions treatment and programming that addresses trauma recovery as well as capacity building and skill development, the program is launching at the perfect time,” said Lisa Cowan, executive director, Tamarack Recovery Centre. “We’ve seen the positive impact of the Winding River program through our work with graduates, and witnessed first-hand the transformational changes in their lives, with the support of ongoing, longer-term treatment from Tamarack. We look forward to working with WCC on this new program.”

Like the WRTC, this new program allows participants and correctional staff to work together to create a social learning environment that uses reinforcement, accountability and positive role models to encourage positive behaviours with a gender responsive lens. Participants deal with drug and alcohol addiction by addressing past trauma, skill deficits, spiritual needs and unemployment in a healthy, stable and supportive environment. It combines treatment programs currently available at the WCC with treatment models specifically designed for women in custody. The Recovering Our Identity program will also be offered to include an Indigenous perspective.

The program can accommodate up to 25 women in intake, core programs and intensive treatment.

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For more information:

  • Public information, contact Manitoba Government Inquiry: 1-866-626-4862 or 204-945-3744.
  • Media requests for general information, contact Communications Services Manitoba: 204-945-3765.
  • Media requests for ministerial comment, contact Communications and Stakeholder Relations: 204-945-4916.


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