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$1M OK'd for Middlesex effort to divert mental-health cases

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The Middlesex County Restoration Center Commission announced Oct. 5 that it has secured $1 million to fund the fourth year of a four-year pilot program designed to study and establish a restoration center in Middlesex County.  The center would help support ongoing efforts to divert those needing behavioral treatment away from law enforcement in the county, while expanding the capacity for treating behavioral health.

Officials thanked state Sen. Cindy Friedman (D-Fourth Middlesex) and state Rep. Ken Gordon (D-21st Middlesex) for supporting the funding, which was included in the state fiscal 2022, budget passed this summer.

“We are extremely grateful to Senator Friedman and Representative Gordon for their incredible leadership in helping the commission secure this critical funding,” said Commission Cochairs Middlesex Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian and Dr. Danna Mauch, president and CEO of the Massachusetts Association for Mental Health.  “Law enforcement across Middlesex County has long recognized we cannot arrest and incarcerate our way out of the substance use and mental health challenges facing our communities.  This center will provide law enforcement a location to divert individuals in crisis to receive immediate and appropriate behavioral health intervention, as well as function as a facility providing walk-in services for community members.” 

The funding will be used for costs associated with the launch of the center and implementation of services by a behavioral health provider.

“The state has made progress over the last few years to divert individuals with behavioral health conditions away from the criminal justice system and into treatment centers,” Friedman said in an Oct. 5 news release. “This funding will allow the Commonwealth to continue this effort in Middlesex County and bring us one step closer to ending the criminalization of people suffering from an illness.  I’m grateful to Representative Gordon for his collaboration in securing this funding in the budget, and to Sheriff Koutoujian and Danna Mauch for their continued support of this initiative.”

Gordon said: “Incarceration is not a substitute for mental or behavioral health care. The Middlesex County Restoration Center will help individuals experiencing crisis avoid incarceration and access appropriate health care.  The ripple effect of helping these individuals benefits our entire community.  I am deeply grateful to Senator Friedman, Sheriff Koutoujian, and Dr. Mauch for their leadership and tireless dedication to this goal.” 

Oct, 2021:  Registration open for correction-officer exam through Oct. 30


This news announcement was published Tuesday. Oct. 5, 2021.

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