Halifax’s treatment center for women with addiction currently running at full is seeking to meet the increasing needs of women coming out of prison.
The Marguerite treatment center, based in Timberlea, can handle 12 recovery patients at any one time. It has been serving women grappling with gambling and drug addiction. Three of the 12 beds are reserved for women who came out of prison on conditional release.
Their center has focused its attention on addiction and mental health, a problem that has been rising during the pandemic. As a result, the center felt the need to widen its service, according to Lisa Mullin, Marguerite Center’s executive director.
The facility is looking to help offenders currently residing at halfway houses by offering them a day program, she added.
She noted that this is an alternative to them waiting for more than 8 months for a bed to free up. Offenders that have less chance of reaching out have a higher chance of relapsing.
However, one of the challenges is getting the offenders to the facility. It is based 17 km out in Halifax from the halfway house at the West End.
To that end, the federal government has issued a tender to have women transported to and from the center during the day. The program aims to have the women contribute to the day program beginning next month.
At any one time, between 8 and 14, women are on the waiting list. It takes at least 8 months to be admitted to the Marguerite Center, which also runs a program that supports non-offenders. However, the women have to agree to stay at the facility for at least three months to be treated.
Mullin said that they have more beds for men looking to beat addiction and get a new start in life. At one point, the facility was looking at the possibility of closing its doors. Still, now they are seeking to fill the existing gap.