Rotarians learn about STAR House

SIDNEY — Shelby County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Jim Frye and Sheriff Deputy Karla Pleiman spoke about the STAR House during a recent meeting of the Sidney Rotary Club.

STAR is short for Sheriff’s Treatment and Recovery, and the house will fill the gap between incarceration and complete independence for those in recovery from drug or alcohol addiction. It has been in the making for about two years and is soon to be completed. The STAR House will be the first of its kind in Ohio that is being operated by a sheriff’s office.

The STAR house is a much-needed addition to our community, the speakers said. It will be transitional housing for drug- and alcohol-addicted inmates once they are released from prison. It is designed for male residents and will have capacity for 20 people. About 80 percent of the jail population are addicts. When they get out and go back into their old environment they often go back to their old ways. While a variety of methods is used while prisoners are incarcerated, transitional housing would greatly benefit these wanting to stay clean and sober.

While they are incarcerated, the prisoners are given all the tools necessary to be successful after they get out of jail, the speakers said. They are given the opportunity to take healthy living classes given by the OSU Extension Office. Upper Valley Career Center does several classes with the prisoners, including budgeting, finance and how to be productive members of the community. They’ve had training to work in the area factories. Job & Family Services comes in to help prepare for life outside of prison. Drug and alcohol counseling, individual counseling and group counseling are also given.

Assessments of the prisoners will be given to determine their eligibility for the STAR House. Most residents will be on probation, so there is accountability. They will have jobs and will continue going to group counseling. It is anticipated that residents will stay in the transitional housing for three to six months.

The STAR House is a community project with so many community members involved. Without their being a part of this, the STAR house wouldn’t be possible, and they are very thankful to all, the speakers said.