A few miles east of the historic Santa Fe Bridge is the former Santa Fe Institution for Savings, the largest publicly funded prison in the state.
Built in 1896, the Santa Fe facility was the first of its kind in the country.
The facility’s first president, Joseph A. Dever, founded the institution to rehabilitate criminals who were released from state and federal prisons, a strategy he called “moral rehabilitation.”
In a nod to the institution’s history, the building is adorned with photos of former inmates and statues of former Santa Franciscans, who helped make the state one of the nation’s most prosperous and successful.
Diversification, as the institution refers to it, is an approach that Dever and his predecessor, David M. Stumpf, pioneered.
The institution, known as the Santa Maria Correctional Center, has about 1,000 inmates, many of them serving time for violent crimes.
Today, the facility houses about 4,500 inmates, about half of them former Santa Maria inmates who have completed their sentences.
The Santa Fe Institute for Rehabilitation is part of the Santa Francisco Department of Corrections’ (SFDC) rehabilitation program, and is housed on the Santa Clara County Jail.
Dver and Stumpff were among the first federal and state lawmakers to call for the creation of a public, prison-like institution to address the state’s opioid crisis.
As the nation grapples with a national opioid crisis, Santa Fe has been at the forefront of efforts to reduce drug use and overdoses among inmates.
The department, which manages about 10,000 prisoners at its Santa Fe campus, said it has seen an average of more than 30 new opioid-related deaths per week for the past two years, and the number of new cases has tripled since 2014.
The state is spending nearly $1.7 million annually to address opioid-specific needs, including expanding the use of non-pharmaceuticals to reduce overdoses and the use and abuse of prescription opioids.
The initiative is part and parcel of a larger effort to reduce the number and cost of opioid-involved deaths.
“The Santa Fe Foundation has been a leader in the national effort to address drug abuse, especially opioid abuse,” said San Francisco State University psychiatry professor Dr. Paul J. Fischbach, who has studied the issue at the Santa Francisas prison.
“But they also recognize that the state has the capacity to do a better job of getting drugs off our streets.
That’s where we are in our efforts.”
In the past year, the state Department of Justice has approved nearly $200 million in federal and California grant money for the program, with a goal of reaching 50 percent of the state-funded needs by 2020.
For Santa Fe, the project has been especially challenging, with the institution operating under tight budget constraints and little funding for new programs.
The new Santa Fe program aims to be a bridge between the prison’s long history of drug abuse and the prison, which has been plagued by problems for decades.
The institute’s mission statement, released last year, said the institution aims to “focus on the long-term effects of treatment and rehabilitation on offenders” and to “support individuals in the community to achieve self-sufficiency and self-reliance.”
The institute has also partnered with Santa Fe Community College to provide classes in addiction and mental health to inmates.
Diverging From The Past In a move that is likely to resonate with those who work with the Santa Francisas inmates, the institution will begin offering classes in behavioral health on the campus this fall.
The school will offer classes that will provide inmates with an opportunity to “understand the impact of drug use, substance use, and other factors on their mental health,” said Elizabeth A. Nisbet, the school’s dean of students and vice president of the San Francisco Department for Community College.
“We’re looking to be in a place where we’re not only providing information to students, but also have a space for them to really explore what’s going on with them,” she said.
“There are other institutions out there that are not focused on helping inmates understand how to use the resources they have in life.”
The school plans to hold a training event to introduce students to the Institute’s program.
The program will offer sessions on behavioral health, trauma management, life skills, and substance abuse prevention.
Students will also be able to participate in a “life-skills workshop” where they can discuss how the institute is changing the lives of inmates.
While Dever’s approach was innovative and bold, he said he was not the first to address how the institution is changing its approach to opioid abuse.
“I think we’re seeing the fruits of the work that we’ve been doing,” Dever said.
In addition to the Santa Fernas Institute for Recovery, the State Department of Public Health has been working with the prison to address heroin and