Massachusetts Set to Launch Behavioral Health Pilot to Reduce Risk of Recidivism

July 24, 2019

Beginning next month, people in Massachusetts who are involved in the criminal justice system, have serious mental illnesses and/or substance addictions, and are at a high risk of reoffending will be eligible to receive individualized supports and services through a new pilot program.

As part of the pilot—which is launching in two counties—staff from two nonprofit behavioral health care providers will meet with eligible participants before they are released from the correctional system. During this meeting, staff will create tailored treatment plans for the participant as well as help them get appointments with health care providers, access various social services, and find housing.

This pilot program stems from policy recommendations made during the state’s Justice Reinvestment Initiative in 2015. As a result of this initiative, Massachusetts invested more than $1 million in providing specialized treatment services to people who have substance addictions, mental illnesses, or co-occurring disorders and are at a high risk of reoffending. To develop the pilot, law enforcement partnered with the state’s Executive Office of Health and Human Services.

Enrollment for the pilot will begin in August 2019 in Middlesex and Worcester counties. If the program is successful, it will expand throughout the state in 2021.


This project was supported by Grant No. 2013-ZB-BX-K002 awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance. The Bureau of Justice Assistance is a component of the Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the Office for Victims of Crime, and the SMART Office. Points of view or opinions in this document are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.

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