Heather Custer, Bridge Supervisor and Clinician
New River Valley Community Services
700 University City Boulevard
Blacksburg, VA 24060-2706
Bridge Program Office
The NRVCS Bridge Program is a jail diversion program designed to divert individuals with mental illness away from the criminal justice system and into community-based treatment and services. Enrollment in the program occurs as a condition of an individual’s bond, sentence, or condition of probation.
Who is eligible?
Participants must be residents of Floyd County, Giles County, Montgomery County, Pulaski County, or Radford City, and their charges must be contained to the Courts in these same areas.
– Individuals with involvement in the criminal justice system who have mental illness; (While persons with substance abuse issues are not denied entry to the program, substance abuse cannot be the only difficulty a person is experiencing.)
– Individuals with pending legal charges;
– Individuals that may be sentenced into the program; or
– Individuals that may be ordered into treatment as a condition of probation.
Note: Individuals who have already been sentenced to serve a jail term, or who have current or past charges that are sexual in nature, are not eligible.
All enrolled individuals must be invested in working on their own recovery.
How long does a participant receive services?
Participants commit to a minimum of six months of services. The maximum amount of time that a participant can receive services in the program is twelve months from the date of enrollment, regardless of case disposition or outcome.
What services are offered?
The Bridge Program is a transitional program that is meant to assist an individual
between the time he/she is released from jail to the time he/she is stable and able to
obtain ongoing services to meet his/her long-term needs.
The Bridge Program currently offers the following treatment groups:
Seeking Safety*: This group is a presence-focused treatment group for clients
with a history of trauma and substance abuse. Participants will learn healthy
coping skills to address one or both of these issues. NOTE: Clients are not
permitted to discuss traumatic events during group sessions.
Beyond The Bars (BTB): This group addresses substance abuse and criminal behavior. Participants are challenged to make pro-social changes to better themselves and their communities.
Note: The programs listed below are not offered on an on-going basis, please contact Bridge staff for information about scheduling and availability.
Something for Nothing: This 8-week group uses a no-nonsense approach in which participants are challenged/confronted with the impact of shoplifting. The group is based on principles of MRT (Moral Reconation Therapy).
Anger Management: This 12-week group examines thinking errors that lead to inappropriate anger states and teaches skills for safely managing appropriate anger.
Untangling Relationships: This 12-week group examines the damaging impact of co-dependency in relationships. Participants learn how to communicate and correct negative patterns in relationships. The material can be applied to an array of relationship types, including romantic, family, friends, co-workers, etc.
*These groups are part of SAMHSA’s national registry of evidence-based programs and practices.
In addition, Bridge offers the following services based on the individual’s need, level of participation and level of attendance:
- Individual counseling (based on availability of clinician)
- Group counseling
- Psychiatric Services
- Medication Assistance
- Case Management – Assistance for obtaining community resources.
- Limited Transportation Services
- Substance Abuse Treatment Services
What can I do to get someone enrolled in the Bridge Program?
Contact the Bridge Program at the number listed above for more information. Bridge can contact the jail and request an opportunity for a clinician to screen candidates for the program that are currently being held in the New River Valley area. For individuals currently in the community, you may contact your attorney or probation officer.
If an individual is eligible to receive services from the Bridge program, the program’s case manager will follow up with the client’s defense attorney to request a bond hearing or contact your probation officer.
Monthly progress reports are sent to the Court, the defense attorney, the Commonwealth’s Attorney, any supervisory bodies (i.e. probation, pre-trial services, Department of Social Services), that describe the individual’s progress and participation in the program, and the results of any drug screening assessments.
Jail services are available at differing levels at our local jail facilities. At a minimum, services include psychiatric assessments and medication evaluations (conducted by psychiatric staff) for those inmates identified to need these interventions.
In the New River Regional jail, a case manager is available to provide weekly coping skills groups and case management supports to those individuals who will need ongoing psychiatric treatment upon release. In addition, staff is available weekly to assess the mental health needs of inmates and provide supportive counseling. Emergency Services, including pre-admission screenings and crisis interventions, are available as needed and upon the request of the facility.