Spectrum Health Systems was recently notified by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) of a 3-year, $1 million grant award to operate a reentry mentoring program to support offenders with substance use disorders releasing from state prisons in Massachusetts.  These individuals are considered high risk for resuming their criminal behavior and drug activity upon return to the community. Spectrum is one of just six such awardees across the country selected by the DOJ.  

Spectrum’s application for statewide services was based on the success of a smaller-scale mentoring program piloted four years ago. This program provided pre- and post-release peer mentoring to ninety high-risk individuals releasing to Worcester County over two years and effectively reduced recidivism by seven percent.
Spectrum’s statewide reentry mentoring program is the first-of-its-kind in Massachusetts.  Mentors will provide one-to-one support to the releasing offender while facilitating access to needed resources, services and supports that lead to healthier, more productive lives.  Mentors will also encourage offenders to take responsibility for their actions and make amends.

Over the next three years, Spectrum anticipates serving nearly four-hundred releasing offenders. Individuals must be within six months of release, plan to remain in Massachusetts and express an interest in participation.  Supervised by Spectrum staff, volunteer mentors will be provided comprehensive training to work safely and effectively in their role.

“The data is clear that Spectrum’s mentoring program is a cost effective way to reduce recidivism and encourage pro-social behavior, with obvious benefits to society and relief to correctional systems strained by capacity,” said Earl Warren, Spectrum’s director of correctional services in Massachusetts. “Working in close partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Correction, the Office of Probation, the Parole Board and countless community-based agencies, we connect reentering citizens to resources and tools that support drug-free, law abiding lifestyles.”

The DOC will provide recidivism data for participants within twelve months following release, while Brandeis University will conduct an independent evaluation to determine the program’s effect on recidivism over time.

According to Peter Paolantonio, Spectrum’s chief clinical officer, “This reentry program allows Spectrum to do what it does best, help individuals achieve and maintain their recovery.”

Based in Worcester, Massachusetts, Spectrum Health Systems, Inc. is a private, nonprofit substance abuse treatment and mental health service organization.  The company currently operates more than 130 programs throughout Georgia, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Virginia and Washington State – serving nearly 80,000 adults and at-risk youth each year.

CONTACT:
Brendan Melican, Public Relations Manager
(508) 792-5400 x7113

brendan.melican@spectrumhealthsystems.org