More money for prison-run treatment center in wake of troubling reports about facility

January 24, 2018
The Boston Globe
By Maria Cramer and Felice J. Freyer

A prison-run center for men ordered by a judge to undergo addiction treatment would receive an additional $3 million for medication and new staff, including substance use counselors, under Governor Charlie Baker’s proposed state budget.

The Massachusetts Alcohol and Substance Abuse Center in Plymouth would receive a total of $13 million under Baker’s budget, which was released Wednesday.

The new funding, which requires legislative approval, would pay for 15 additional staff members and pay for patients to receive Vivitrol, a shot that blocks the effect of opioids, before they leave the treatment center.

Advocates for patients who report problems said the budget increase would not fix the facility’s underlying problems.

“The only way to reform [the center] would be to take it away from the Department of Correction,” said James Pingeon, a staff attorney with Prisoners’ Legal Services . “Any efforts to improve it are a good thing, however, it will never work. They will never be able to make this an effective treatment facility as long as it’s run like a prison, and there is no way around that hard fact.”

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