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Recovering addicts in the “SHARPS” at Albany County Jail program treated to performance

COLONIE, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Inmates in a special Albany County Jail program for recovering addicts are receiving a message of hope and redemption from someone who’s been there.

It’s called the SHARP program and it seems to be working for drug and alcohol addicted inmates who in the past kept on returning here. On Monday, non-violent offenders in the program got a bit of encouragement from a special musical guest.

The strumming of a guitar, and a song helping to fill the lonely spaces within the concrete cells and bars.

The one man show here inside the walls of the Albany County jail is a concert for a truly captive audience. The singer baring his soul and his past.

“In one of the most pertinent details as to why I’m here is that I’m a recovering drug addict and alcoholic. I’ve been clean and sober for three-and-a-half years now,” NYC Singer and Songwriter Matt Butler said.

Butler said this is also about his own redemption.

Butler, who says he’s spent a few nights in jail himself, can relate to the men housed here. He’s tasted big-time success only to see it slip away with every line of cocaine.

“I think it’s an audience that might relate to some of the stuff that I can say and if there is any way that I can be of service then this is where I want to be.”

Butler was invited to sing a short set for volunteer inmates in the jail’s SHARP program. The program offers drug and alcohol treatment and counseling to non-violent offenders while they’re on the inside and after they’re released.

“It’s one thing to hear it from someone else, but to hear it from a fellow addict it means it’s possible and it’s very encouraging,” An inmate said.

What are his hopes for these inmates? Butler says he believes his songs are a message of hope for healing and redemption.

Sheriff Craig Apple says he invited Butler here because he felt he could make an impact.

Apple says of the more than 80 participants who have graduated from the program, he’s only seen a handful inmates return.