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Life Recovered

A Mother's Journey from Incarceration to Recovery

Story and video by Patrick Orsagos

The number of drug crimes in West Virginia has soared in the past 15 years as the opioid epidemic swept the state and forced jails and prisons to treat addiction. In 2018, the state logged 966 crimes involving manufacturing, possessing or selling drugs, up from 302 in  2004, according to the West Virginia Division of Corrections.

That doesn't include cases when a person is charged with multiple offenses in which drugs played a lesser role, according to Lawrence Messina, the director of communications for the West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety. 

According to the state, nearly 700 inmates in regional jails needed detox in 2013, or less than two percent of all admissions. That number increased to 25 percent in 2018. 

Kelli Robinson, charged with burglary, said she spent all 45 days in the North Central Regional Jail in 2016 going through withdrawal. Here is her story about life after incarceration: