Matrix House on chopping block | News

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Matrix House on chopping block

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Matrix House is part of the Community Transition Center in downtown Jacksonville.

Jacksonville Sheriff John Rutherford said come August 24, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office will no longer be able to run the program.

RELATED: Save The Matrix House petition

The Matrix House is a rehabilitation program which gets inmates off of drugs and alcohol.

Alisse Sorensen went through the Matrix House.

On Tuesday, she looked at photos of herself from a few years back when she was addicted to drugs.

"Look how skinny I was. I was 105 pounds and I'm 5'7," she commented.

Sorensen admits she was addicted to pills, cocaine and alcohol.

Rehab and detox centers did not help; neither did her mother's pleading.

"She used to sit on the edge of my bed and beg me not to go out," she recalled.

Two years ago, Sorensen landed in jail for burglary and grand theft.

"I stole about $5,000 worth of jewelry."

She took it from a family friend. Sorensen needed money for drugs.

Her sentence included jail time, as well as time at the Matrix House.  

Sorensen said she received a different kind of help and counseling that she did not get from the other rehab and detox centers she had been to.

She's now been sober for 2 years. She has her own apartment and two jobs.

"I pay my taxes and I'm a productive member of society now," Sorensen proudly said.

The sheriff said the mayor's budget cuts are forcing him to close the Matrix House.  

Sorensen's eyes welled up with tears, talking about the program coming to a close. "It makes me sad ... because other people deserve a chance at life."

According to the sheriff, closing the CTC and Matrix House will save $4.4 million in operation costs and $1.5 million in counseling costs which the city pays for.

However, Sorensen believes the savings will only be temporary. Eventually, she said, it will cost the city its safety.

"You'll be putting alcoholics and drug addicts -- with no rehabilitation -- back on the street," she explained.

Sorensen wore her "Save the Matrix House" shirt Tuesday. She and her parents plan to speak at the city meeting Tuesday evening.

She credits the Matrix House with giving her the true freedom she has now.

"I can wake up in the morning and say, 'What am I going to have for breakfast?' Not, 'How am I going to get my drugs?'  And that's a freedom you can only understand if you were me."


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