Substance use treatment changing at Plymouth prison


June 29, 2020
CommonWealth Magazine
By Shira Schoenberg

Guards withdrawn, treatment expanded for civil commitments

THE BAKER ADMINISTRATION is removing correctional officers and expanding treatment programming at the troubled prison facility in Plymouth used to treat men civilly committed for substance use.

The shift in approach follows a lawsuit alleging abusive treatment at the facility and a legislative committee recommending these men no longer be kept there.

“By transitioning to a care-based model rather than a correctional one, MASAC has undergone a comprehensive transformation,” said Jake Wark, a spokesman for the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security. “The transition reflects the facility’s core mission to provide treatment, and it significantly expands the therapeutic and programming options available to our patients during a safe, structured, medically-monitored detoxification.”

But advocates say the administration’s plan does not go far enough, and the state should instead abolish the practice of keeping civilly committed men in a prison-like setting.

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