By Carol Dochow, OSF Program Coordinator
The Guidance/Care Center’s (GCC) Other Side of the Fence (OSF) program provides intensive outpatient treatment to adult male offenders with high-risk behaviors related to substance misuse and/or mental illness. OSF’s target population includes racial and ethnic minorities, the LGBTQIA+ population, and previously incarcerated individuals. OSF team of staff includes a program coordinator, licensed clinical social worker, and a care coordinator to provide clients with individual and group therapy, CLEAR counseling, HIV/Hepatitis C testing, psychiatric care, trauma resolution, and case management services to assist with acquiring stable housing, employment, food stamps, and linkage to recovery/peer support, primary health care, and potential SSI benefits.
Clients are often court-ordered to the OSF program in hopes of being granted an early release from jail or seeking a lighter sentence. However, many clients volunteer for the program hoping to get much-needed assistance to prevent them from returning to old behaviors that can lead back to incarceration.
One such client asked if he could volunteer for the program to get assistance moving forward with his life after incarceration. He has a history of trauma growing up in foster care and suffering abuse. Despite these challenges, he has maintained a positive and grateful attitude. From the beginning, he appeared highly motivated and often reached out for help between his scheduled appointments.
In addition, this client is an extremely talented musician and singer. He was recently pursued by a talent scout from Sony Records, but turned down the offer to complete the OSF program before he follows his dream of becoming a minister. He has a very powerful sense of faith that inspires himself and others. He currently performs at the Bethel AME Church on Sundays and occasionally at the United Methodist’s Old Stone Coffeehouse. He expresses his gratitude and attributes his current success by saying, “I now focus on all the positive things in my life as well as giving back and helping others.”