BILLERICA, MA — Sheriff Peter J Koutoujian recently welcomed Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan to the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction for a tour of specialized housing units for young adult offenders and incarcerated military Veterans.
“I want to thank DA Ryan for taking the time to come inside and learn about the incredible work our staff is doing on a daily basis to change the trajectory for those in our Housing Unit for Military Veterans (HUMV) and our new People Achieving Change Together (P.A.C.T.) Program,” said Sheriff Koutoujian. “These are cutting edge initiatives designed to address the unique needs of the individuals in these populations.”
“The work the Sheriff is doing with these two units is critical in reducing the impact the criminal justice system has on people’s lives. In Middlesex County we are taking a truly collaborative approach which includes both offering alternatives to prosecution and programs like these that encourage treatment and rehabilitation. By shifting the focus from a solely punitive system we are helping to support system involved individuals with the goal of reducing recidivism,” continued District Attorney Ryan.
P.A.C.T., which opened in February, is for offenders ages 18-24. The unit was constructed in collaboration with the Vera Institute of Justice with a goal of reducing recidivism amongst individuals in that age group. Middlesex is the first local jail in the country to collaborate with Vera on such a unit, and only the second agency nationally. According to data from the Council of State Governments Justice Center, 18-to 24-year-olds released from Massachusetts correctional facilities have higher recidivism rates than other offenders, with 52 percent of those released from houses of correction and 56 percent of those released by the department of correction were re-incarcerated within three years.
HUMV was established in January 2016, and is the only unit of its kind in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for incarcerated Veterans. In May, HUMV was highlighted during an event at the Library of Congress and is one of four jail-based programs for Veterans included in a National Institute of Corrections (NIC) document (“Barracks Behind Bars”) released at the event. A recent review found that of all individuals who had spent at least 30 days in HUMV, and were released to the community, just five percent had recidivated since its inception.
(NOTE: The above press release is from the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office.)
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