Mass. legislators debate whether to fund addiction programs that lock people up

WBURBy Deborah BeckerApril 21, 2022 Massachusetts lawmakers are debating whether to continue supporting programs that put people inside jails and prisons for addiction treatment. Both Gov. Charlie Baker and the House leadership have proposed setting aside roughly $23 million in the budget for such addiction programs. But State Rep. Ruth Balser has filed budget amendments […]

Changes to Section 35 are being reviewed by lawmakers. Here’s what you should know.

“Section 35 is meant to be a very limited application.” Boston.comDecember 1, 2021By Dialynn Dwyer Massachusetts ended the practice in 2016 of sending women to correctional facilities for addiction treatment when they are civilly committed. Now, an effort is underway to do the same for men who are involuntarily committed under the state’s Section 35 […]

Press Release: Public Health & Human Rights for Mass. and Cass Coalition calls on Mayor-Elect Wu to take a health-centered approach to Mass. and Cass

PUBLIC HEALTH EXPERTS AND ADVOCATES PRESENT EVIDENCE-BASED SOLUTIONS TO INTERSECTING CRISES FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE BOSTON, November 3, 2021 – A new coalition of public health, addiction, housing, and civil liberties experts today called on Boston Mayor-Elect Michelle Wu to take a health-centered approach to the intersecting crises people are experiencing in the area of Melnea […]

Advocates decry practice of jailing men for addiction treatment

The Boston Globe June 26th, 2019 By Felice J. Freyer A 31-year-old man named Jonathan stood up before a crowd in a State House lounge Wednesday and spoke about a horrific experience. In April, he said, his family abruptly decided that he needed treatment for his drinking. So they took advantage of a state law called […]

Group Of Civilly Committed Men Sues Mass. Alleging Gender Discrimination In ‘Section 35’ Law

WBUR March 14th, 2019 By Deborah Becker A group of men is suing the state of Massachusetts over the law, known as “Section 35,” that allowed a judge to involuntarily commit each of them to addiction treatment. The lawsuit filed by 10 men civilly committed to the Massachusetts Alcohol and Substance Abuse Center (MASAC), a minimum security prison in Plymouth, alleges […]

Settlement between prisoners, Department of Correction prompts new Hepatitis C protocol

Boston Globe June 30, 2018 By Danny McDonald A federal judge has approved a settlement between state prisoners who have Hepatitis C and the state’s Department of Correction that overhauls the agency’s protocol for identifying and treating inmates with the disease. Under the terms of the settlement, new DOC prisoners will be offered Hepatitis C […]

Forced Rehab Isn’t the Solution

Massachusetts wants to expand its civil commitment law for addiction, but it may make matters worse. January 9, 2018 Tonic (Vice) By Maia Szalavitz What can family members do if a loved one is daily risking death, using street opioids that are frequently contaminated by super potent fentanyls? In some states, legislators are considering new legislation […]

Patients call Plymouth addiction center a mere jail

December 2, 2017 The Boston Globe By Maria Cramer and Felice J. Freyer In recent years, as the opioid crisis has deepened, the number of people who have turned to the court system for help has skyrocketed. Under a state law known as Section 35, a judge may commit into treatment anyone with an addiction […]

Advocates: Mass. unlawfully isolates mentally ill inmates

By Maria Cramer and Jenna Russell The Boston Globe December 31, 2016 One inmate, diagnosed with bipolar disorder, became so distraught after months in the prison’s isolation unit that he began talking to himself and counting compulsively. Another, who suffers from schizoaffective disorder, declined so much in isolation that he smeared himself with feces. A third, […]