New bill could prevent jail time for relapse in Massachusetts

February 8th, 2019

The Daily Free Press
February 7th, 2019
By Sarika Ram

…a bill before the Massachusetts Legislature could prevent people with substance use disorder from being sent to jail only for relapsing. If the bill is enacted, people diagnosed with substance use disorder who are on probation or are pretrial would be diverted to treatment and prohibited from being drug-tested.

James Pingeon, litigation director at Prisoners’ Legal Services of Massachusetts, said the jail environment is also often not conducive to recovery because drug use is common and treatment resources are poor.

“Drugs are widespread in prisons in general, but they sort of concentrate [on] people who have substance use issues,” Pingeon said. “It’s hard to get clean when there’s so many people using all around you.”

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