Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito unveiled a new program to help women who have been civically committed for drug treatments avoid going to prison earlier this month, Governor Charlie Baker’s office said.
Polito and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders and Department of Mental Health Commissioner Joan Mikula opened the new Women’s Recovery from Addictions Program at Taunton State Hospital on Feb. 4, Baker’s office said in a press release. The new program will provide 15 beds, with another 30 beds coming this summer, to women who have previously been committed to MCI Framingham for drug and alcohol treatment.
The program comes on the heels of the governor signing An Act Relative to Civil Commitments for Alcohol and Substance Use Disorders into law on Jan. 25, Baker’s office said.
“The law ensures that when a court civilly commits a woman for treatment under Chapter 123, Section 35, the woman receives the treatment in a therapeutic setting rather than in a prison,” the release read. Polito said that the new program has been a long time coming.
“It has taken the Commonwealth over 25 years to follow through on a promise to give women help for their alcohol and drug addiction so they have a shot at recovery,” Polito said in a statement released by the governor’s office. “Opening our first inpatient service will offer much needed options and new hope for women and families, and now is the time for the legislature to pass additional reforms to target the drivers of this public health crisis.”