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Grants to help jail expand drug treatment

Salem News - 10/31/2020

Oct. 31--MIDDLETON -- Two federal grants will help the Essex County Sheriff's Department assist those recently released from custody with continued medication-assisted treatment and other supports, the department announced on Friday.

The two grants, totaling $2.1 million, and a third grant targeted at ending sexual exploitation of inmates, were awarded by the Department of Justice this month.

"Our job and our mission are to help those who come to us find a path to a more productive and successful life as a citizen," said Sheriff Kevin Coppinger in a press release announcing the grants. "Far too often, we see people who cannot find the treatment and supports they need on the outside to maintain their progress and they end up back in our facilities."

The largest grant, a $1.2 million award from the Department of Justice's Comprehensive Opioid, Stimulant and Substance Abuse Program, will allow the jail to expand its medication-assisted treatment program so that former prisoners can receive continued treatment after they are released.

It was among more than $340 million in grants awarded across the country this year to help fight the addiction crisis in the United States, according to the Office of Justice Programs, which announced grants earlier this month.

Several other sheriffs departments in Massachusetts received grants, including $1.15 million for Middlesex County, $600,000 in Franklin County and $900,000 in Hampden County.

In Essex County, the $1.2 million will be used to provide services for 3,000 inmates both during their incarceration and after their release, including access to Naloxone, a medication used to treat opiate addiction, behavioral support, and transitional housing and peer supports.

The second Justice Department grant, for $900,000, will involve the Sheriff's Department collaborating with two programs for at-risk young adults, Roca and UTEC, to develop a pre- and post-release program for up to 250 people at high risk for recidivism due to substance abuse issues.

The program, Improving Re-entry for Adults with Substance Use Disorders, will offer medication assisted treatment, as well as programs on violence and substance abuse, and parenting skills.

Roca and UTEC, two longstanding community programs that have worked with at-risk youth and young adults for decades north of Boston, will provide group and individual training and support, including programs aimed at changing their behavior in the community, and life and job or educational skills.

"These two grant programs help us focus on their needs when they come to us and allow us to continue to invest in their success when they leave us through extensive community supports in case management, treatment, behavior and case management," said Coppinger.

A third grant, for $250,000, through the Prison Rape Elimination Act, will allow the jail to bring in a mental health clinician to respond to incidences of sexual abuse and harassment, and detect and prevent potential incidents. The grant will also fund training for officers and cameras in certain areas that have been "blind spots" to improve safety, Coppinger said.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, by email at or on Twitter at @SNJulieManganis.


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