Drug addiction as a health problem NOT as a crime

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To dismantle the big hairy mess of mass incarceration, we must treat drug/alcohol abuse as a health problem, NOT a crime. An estimated 90 percent of all crimes are tainted by drugs and alcohol. Addiction is another cause for folks to re-offend and return to jail.
 
According to Mass INC, a Bay State think tank, reducing recidivism by 5 percent would save $150 million a year. WOW! With an eye on implementing more treatment, EMIT has arranted a tour of the STOP program at Worcester County Jail – Substance Abuse Treatment Opportunity Program on Friday May 16, 1-2:30 pm. This program is worth knowing about and imitating as we re-direct money for imprisoning people toward treatment.
 
STOP is a multi-dimensional treatment program for 36 participants enrolled for 6 to 12 months who live in separate housing. Founded by Pete Kosciusko, the program is 7 years old. He will be leading the tour. Initial evidence shows a 20 to 30 percent improvement on recidivism. I’ve requested that we hear from program participants as well as staff members. 
 
The program is so good that one participant elected to stay in jail to continue treatment ! They are housed separately to reduce the influence of other incarcerated people. Here is an article in the Worcester Telegram about STOP.
 
Treating substance abuse as a health problem can reduce recidivism. Mass INC predicts that if we reduce recidivism by 5 percent, the state will save $150 million a year. 
 
To join the tour, you must sign up by May 5.  Please RSVP immediately in order to complete the background check, which will be forwarded to you. The tour is arranged by the Worcester County Sheriff and EMIT- Ending Mass Incarceration Together, a task force of UU Mass Action. RSVP to endingmassincarceration at gmail dot com.
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