NASHVILLE --- The Board of Probation and Parole is conducting a post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and addiction seminar for the public and offenders under BOPP supervision. The event is scheduled for Thursday, November 20, at 9:30am EST at the Family Investment Center, 400 Harriet Tubman Street, in Knoxville. It will feature Tonier Cain of Maryland, who will share her story of trauma, addiction, survival and triumph.
Cain was mentally, physically and sexually abused starting at the age of nine. She later became an addict and a prostitute living on the streets. “I remember eating out of the trash, prostituting and getting kicked and spit on and called names,” she said.
For several years, Cain was in and out of jail for drug possession, theft, assault and robbery. By 2004, she was pregnant and incarcerated at the Maryland Correctional Institution for Women. She was paroled into a program that helped recently paroled women raise their children. It was there that she received therapy to help her understand the reasons behind her drug use. She also learned parenting skills. She is now employed by the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors, and travels the country talking about her experiences with abuse, addiction, PTSD and survival.
The seminar is part of BOPP’s efforts to change offender behavior through intervention. “Our agency wants to drastically reduce recidivism by providing education, outreach and mental health services to the probationers and parolees we serve,” said BOPP Field Services Director Gary Tullock. “Our goal is to help them become successful, productive citizens.”
BOPP District Director Vyvian McCarthy said, “So many of our clients, especially women, have experienced trauma in their lives which leads them to addiction and crime. We want to address those issues to help our clients to overcome the obstacles they face. We plan to offer additional outreach services to our clients and the public.”
After Cain’s presentation, BOPP will provide educational training and local mental health referrals. The seminar is free and the public is invited. Probationers and parolees who may have PTSD/addiction issues have also been invited, as well as representatives from local mental health agencies and education.
The Board of Probation and Parole (www.tn.gov/bopp) is an independent seven-member board whose members are appointed by the Governor. The Board is charged with the responsibility of deciding which eligible felony offenders will be granted parole and released from incarceration to community-based supervision. Along with the supervision of those granted parole, the Board is also responsible for supervising felony offenders who are placed on probation by criminal courts.