Berkshire County Corrections Center Launches First Batterers Intervention Program
The Berkshire County Community Corrections Center launched its first Batterers Intervention Program earlier this month. It is the only Batterers Intervention Program in all of Berkshire County. There are currently 16 probationers enrolled in the program with nine on a waiting list.
Batterers Intervention is an educational program for people who have been abusive or controlling towards an intimate party, according to the Batterer Intervention Program Services Division of Violence and Injury Prevention, a Massachusetts Department of Public Health initiative. The division lists as its central goals: victim safety and batterer accountability.
This 42-week program—certified by the Department of Public Health (DPH) and managed by Phoenix House, Inc. of New England—is the first Batterers program to be offered at any of the Massachusetts Probation Service’s 18 community corrections centers across the state. Certified Batterer Intervention Programs work with perpetrators of intimate partner violence.
The programs are typically 80 hours in length and program staff members are trained in domestic violence and batterer intervention. Batterers programs teach batterers to recognize how their abuse affects their partners and children and how to practice alternatives to abusive behaviors, according to a description of the program provided by the Department of Public Health. These programs are also required to undergo an annual review by the Department of Public Health.
“This new program addresses an important need in the Berkshires as it keeps offenders accountable while providing them with new approaches to changing abusive and controlling behavior,” said Commissioner Edward J. Dolan.
“This is an important step in addressing a need and providing a service that was not previously available in Berkshire County. The Batterer's Intervention Program was made possible only as a result of numerous agencies working together,” said Northern Berkshire District Chief Probation Officer Donald Wright.
"The Southern Berkshire District Court is very lucky to have a recently opened state certified Batterer's Intervention Program where our probation office can now send appropriate referrals. A lot of mutual cooperation went into this joint endeavor,” said Southern Berkshire District Court Chief Probation Officer Alfred Barbalunga. “This is also a win for the Berkshire County Community Corrections Center, where this batterer's programming will be taking place; resources will be shared and probationers will have the opportunity for an additional support system, when needed."