The Denver Post
James Ness is carrying around a GPS device he hopes will tell him where not to go.
A recovering drug and alcohol abuser in court-ordered counseling, Ness is equipped with a smartphone that warns him when he's getting near old haunts that fueled his addictions: A north Denver bar. An apartment building packed with hard-partying friends. Enough risky points in Aurora to make him write off the whole city.
And since Ness is deaf, the Global Positioning System application vibrates rather than beeps.
Other applications on the phone give him a "panic" button with direct access to his counselor. If his local adviser isn't available, Ness can link through a video sign-language translator to other trusted friends. Another button offers motivational videos; still another links to a Facebook-style chat with other hearing-impaired clients supporting one another in recovery.
The phone is good cop/bad cop in one. His talks with supportive friends might be interrupted by an automated text from Arapahoe House, his counseling center, reminding Ness that it's his day to give a urine sample.
Ness, 40, is eager to add all the lifelines he can get.
Some of the same technology got the auto mechanic into trouble in the first place, with the wrong kind of Facebook friends and time wasted in YouTube distractions. Ness and Arapahoe House think it's only fair that new grants help the recovery center connect people for the right reasons.
Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?
Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.
If you would like to be involved please go to our website and become a member.
Thursday, December 22, 2011
The Denver Post