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By Benson Varghese

Published on: September 8th, 2020 at 11:48 AM
Last Updated: September 22nd, 2020 at 12:33 PM

Have your struggles with addiction, drug dependency, abuse, or mental illness lead to multiple arrests for prostitution?  The Tarrant County Reaching Independence through Self Empowerment, otherwise known as Tarrant County RISE program, could be your chance to start over and maintain a healthy, productive lifestyle.

What is the Tarrant County RISE Diversion Program?

The mission of the RISE Program is to identify vulnerable women with extensive histories of prostitution or prostitution-related offenses, expedite them through the criminal justice system and help them achieve sobriety, mental stability, permanent housing and educational and work opportunities. The RISE program mostly consists of women who are high-risk and have three or more charges of prostitution on their record and are facing time in prison. With the consent of an individual’s attorney, the defendant is contacted by a member of the RISE staff and then evaluated through the use of validated assessment instruments and a clinical interview.  The goal is to identify participants most likely to achieve lifestyle change through participation in the program, which involves counseling and treatment. Once accepted into the program, the participant will enter a plea of guilty and receive a probated or deferred sentence with the requirement that she successfully complete the RISE program.

The RISE Program was started and is overseen by Judge Brent Carr, of County Criminal Court No. 9. Here’s a word from Judge Brent Carr about RISE from The NET FW on Vimeo.

“Giving a woman who has been living on the streets some options is much better than throwing her in jail.”  – Joan Rycraft, retired University of Texas Arlington Social Worker.

What is the Purpose of RISE?

Reaching Independence through Self Empowerment (RISE) seeks to intervene in the lives of women who have a long history of addiction and mental illness whose common thread is a record filled with arrests for prostitution. Many of the women who participate RISE come from a background of sexual and physical abuse, have experienced trauma through the sex industry, and have a history of substance abuse.

Through this two to four-year recovery program, women are offered rehab first then permanent housing, generally from Salvation Army or other housing facilities in Fort Worth. While in housing, women are placed into case management to receive whatever services she is currently needing. This could include recovery classes, life-skills classes, GED classes, mental health appointments with MHMR, counseling from the Women’s Center, etc.

Who is Eligible for the Tarrant County RISE program?

Women charged with felony or misdemeanor level offenses with an expressed desire to change from a life of prostitution and enter upon a path of treatment, stabilization, and rehabilitation. The screening process will weed out applicants with past violent behavior and low desire for cognitive change.

What are the Benefits of RISE?

 The RISE program provides housing, education, job training, and employment and addresses underlying causing drug, mental health and economic issues with long-term therapy and supervision by social workers, attorneys, and probation officers.

If you believe you might be a good candidate for the RISE Diversion Program, contact our attorneys today at (817) 203-2220 or online. We have helped clients gain entry into this program and turn their lives around.