“The Bristol County Sheriff’s Office and Correctional Psychiatric Services are launching a nation-first program to close the treatment gap between when an inmate is released and when they receive medical services.
Using the Correctional Reintegration Clinic, inmates can make an appointment to speak with a medical provider within hours of their release. The provider and clinic will provide psychiatric and substance abuse treatment and link it to other services.
The first inmate to use the correctional reintegration clinic was released a few weeks ago and was able to get a prescription to continue taking addiction medication the next day.
Bristol County Sheriff Thomas M. Hodgson said the program is particularly beneficial for pre-trial inmates, those awaiting trial, as it is difficult to get a concrete reintegration plan for people who could only spend a day or two behind bars before being released. , and whose release dates are not known.
“This program will make a big difference in the rehabilitation and continued care of our released inmates,” Bristol County Sheriff Thomas M. Hodgson said. “It takes away a lot of the anxiety and worry about continuing care away from inmates. An inmate could have their bond reduced and released a week after admission, and now that inmate won’t have to wait to see a doctor and get the services they need to stay on the path to success.
People who finish their sentence in Bristol County receive comprehensive reintegration planning and services, including appointments with doctors and other community service providers to continue care once released. This new clinic will primarily benefit inmates awaiting trial, as with fluctuating release dates it is difficult to organize services.
Those released will receive a QR code to scan on their mobile phone to arrange a telehealth visit with an independent medical provider.
The CRC is the brainchild of Dr. Jorge Veliz, President and CEO of CPS, who has been Bristol County’s medical provider since 2009. CPS provides medical, mental health and MOUD/MAT services to inmates at BCSO and other Massachusetts sheriff’s offices.
“This is designed to ensure continuity of care and treatment for those released,” Dr. Veliz said. “Within hours of release, they have the opportunity to schedule a telehealth appointment with an independent medical provider and address their psychiatric and substance abuse needs. It really is a virtual bridge between corrections and the community.
Dr. Veliz said CRC will debut at other correctional facilities across the state in the coming months.