Statement: Connecticut Becomes Third State in Country to Implement Evidence-Based Treatment in Jails and Prisons

For Immediate Release

June 27, 2019

Contact:

Yan Snead, ysnead@katalcenter.org | 518.360.1543

 

Connecticut Becomes Third State in Country to Implement Evidence-Based Treatment in Jails and Prisons

 

In a significant step toward addressing the overdose crisis in the state, Governor Lamont signed the state budget that includes $8 million in new funding to implement jail and prison-based treatment programs that use medications proven effective in treating opioid use disorder. Similar programs in Vermont and Rhode Island have shown success in reducing fatal overdoses and recidivism while improving access to, and retention in care for individuals receiving treatment. The Katal Center for Health, Equity, and Justice provided testimony in support of this effort, as did our partner in Albany New York’s successful jail-based program, Sheriff Craig D. Apple Sr.

Program initiation takes a staggered approach, with the goal of treating 1,200 new patients every year through full implementation in 2021. Using a comprehensive approach that includes the “gold standard” medications, methadone and buprenorphine, has been proven over decades of research to reduce mortality and improve psychosocial outcomes among patients receiving treatment. Utilizing these options in correctional settings is rapidly becoming standard practice at the national level as other states including New York and Maryland consider or adopt similar legislation.

We know, and many elected officials and law enforcement have echoed, that we “can’t arrest our way out of” the overdose crisis we are facing. While much of our efforts aim to reduce the number of people arrested, jailed, and incarcerated for drug-related offenses, we must also address the needs of individuals who still enter and cycle through the criminal justice system. We know that providing medication treatment while in jail and prison works and we applaud Governor Lamont for following the evidence and including this lifesaving intervention in the state budget.

 

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