Special Reports

Perhaps this is his way off the ‘rough road’

Darrel Daves speaks in a soft voice. He likes talking about cars, boats and motorcycles. He’s divorced and has a grown son, daughter and stepson.

He’s also spent most of his adult life in jail or prison, and has been arrested 10 times since January 2010.

For nearly a year, Daves has languished in the Pierce County Jail on charges of third-degree theft and assault from a shoplifting incident. He’s awaiting trial and doesn’t know when he’ll get out.

But Daves, 47, said he has hope because of a program that offers him support.

“That’s what keeps me going now,” he said.

Daves meets with mental health and chemical-dependency professionals through the Community Re-Entry Program targeting repeat jail inmates with mental illness.

Because of that, he has “a hope that things are going to be OK for me.”

Diagnosed with bipolar disorder, Daves said he’s a methamphetamine addict and homeless.

The Spanaway man said he was jailed previously for possession of drugs and theft, has been in and out of Pierce County Jail 27 times since 1986, and served time at several prisons.

“It’s been a rough road,” he said.

At an appointment at the jail in the middle of May, DeDe Hazzard, his chemical-dependency professional, talked with him about building skills for when he gets out.

“I want to help you develop a new inner self and get rid of that habit self,” Hazzard said. “That’s where the true change is really going to happen.”

Daves, restrained by handcuffs attached to a belly chain, asked Hazzard to explain the “habit self.”

“A habit self is like an old self,” she said.

“It’s the part of you that is ruled by habits — not good habits, the bad habits,” she said. “It’s the voice in your head that automatically says things about what you like or dislike or what you want to do. … And the habit self doesn’t think it through.”

She told him, “Go five minutes.”

He asks her what she means.

“That means for five minutes, you’re going to choose to react in a different way,” Hazzard said. “You’re just going to do it five minutes at a time.”

Daves also meets with Will Hansen, a mental health professional with the Community Re-Entry Program, every Sunday morning.

“I look forward to my Sundays,” he said.

Daves started the program in mid-December. He said he’s been clean since he went back in jail on June 28, 2012.

If convicted of his current charges, he could face a prison sentence, during which he’d be ineligible for the services he’s been getting in jail.

He said he believes the re-entry program will help him understand himself and stay off drugs. And it will provide housing and medication.

He said he’s never been in a treatment program.

“I’ve got to be a fool if I don’t follow through with this program,” Daves said. “I’ve got to be a fool if I don’t just make a real go at this.”