Mounting an Evidence-Based Criminal Justice Response to Substance Abuse and Drug Offending in Massachusetts

Published Date : March 21, 2016
Sponsors :Gardiner Howland Shaw Foundation

The Boston Foundation
The Hyams Foundation

Solutions to better treat and manage substance abuse are paramount to an effective Justice Reinvestment strategy. Too many residents suffering from substance use disorder continue to enter the criminal justice system, which struggles to help these individuals recover from a life-threatening disease. For many offenders, un- or undertreated substance abuse aggravates anti-social behavior and lengthens criminal careers. The resulting cycle of recidivism creates significant costs for communities and places a significant strain on public resources.

The fourth installment in our Justice Reinvestment Policy Brief Series, this paper explores available data on substance use in Massachusetts, examines the range of evidence-based practice at each stage in the criminal justice system, and describes efforts to implement these approaches in the Commonwealth. The paper concludes with ideas for how policymakers and criminal justice and law enforcement officials can work together to lead Massachusetts into a new era of responding to substance abuse with evidence-based practice.

Meet The Authors

Ben Forman

Research Director, MassINC

Jonathan Jones

Graduate Fellow , MassINC

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