DANVILLE (WSLS 10) - "Honestly, the program was a very eye-opening experience for me," said inmate Derek Linder as he sat in the library of the Danville City Jail reflecting on his experience during the first phase of the jail's new, aggressive drug rehab program.
Linder is one of the first five Danville City Jail inmates who just completed the first phase of the jail's Alpha drug rehab program on Friday.
The first phase is a 120-day rehab session in the jail.
"It forced me to deal with issues and situations that I had kept buried down for so long that I didn't realize were keeping me from reaching my full potential," Linder said.
Similar programs are offered at other jails, but this is the first of its kind to be offered at a jail in Southside.
Sheriff Mike Mondul said Friday is an important milestone for the program, but whether or not it will be truly successful has yet to be determined.
"This is what we've been looking forward to all along; to be able to see what happens from here," Mondul explained. "Certainly, there are some challenges going forward for all of them. This is where the true test may come."
Jerry Hazelwood also completed the first phase of the program Friday.
Like Linder, he said the program forced him to confront some of his internal issues, and that was hard, but he's glad it did.
"I had reached a point in life where I knew things needed to change, but I didn't know how to go about it," said Hazelwood.
He is excited to be at this point in his life and is looking forward to continuing to make progress.
"All those years when my mom fussed at me to do the right thing, to do this and do that and I didn't listen. Now, I see what she was talking about because I see the error in my ways," Hazelwood said. "So, now it brings a lot of things full circle for me."
Both he and Linder are confident they will successfully complete phase two and graduate from the program.
They say this is the start of a new beginning.
"This feels good," said Linder, half smiling as he looked down at his completion certificate which he held in his hands.
Phase two of the program is completed outside the jail and last 36 weeks.
The inmates will live in their homes or other prearranged locations and attend rehab classes. They will start out with three classes a week, then progress to two classes a week, and finally one class a week for the final eight weeks.
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