For Immediate Release - October 13, 2015

Massachusetts Trial Court Awarded Federal Grants to Drug Courts in Barnstable and Bristol Counties

BOSTON, MA -- The Massachusetts Trial Court today announced that it has been awarded two federal grants totaling $1.375 million to expand services offered to court-involved juveniles in the Bristol County Juvenile Drug Court and to Cape Cod adults participating in the Barnstable Drug Court.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) awarded a $975,000 three-year grant to the Barnstable Drug Court, while a second grant from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) will provide $400,000 over two years to enhance services for teens participating in three Bristol County Juvenile Drug Court sessions.

“This funding comes at a pivotal time in our fight against the opioid epidemic, which has hit the Commonwealth with particular force,” said Trial Court Chief Justice Paula M. Carey. “These grants will help the Trial Court substantially increase its ability to respond to the growing treatment needs in Bristol County and on Cape Cod. Adolescents and adults in these communities often face significant challenges in obtaining support services. The grants will strengthen the links we’re building between the courts and local treatment service providers.”

The Barnstable Drug Court opened in January 2002, and now serves approximately 50 to 55 court-involved adults per year on Cape Cod. The Bristol County Juvenile Drug Court, in operation since 2001, will serve 105 court-involved adolescents in Fall River, New Bedford, and Taunton over two years.

The SAMHSA grant will enable the Barnstable Drug Court to provide substance use and co-occurring mental health treatment services to 90 drug court participants. The grant will also provide “Mission Criminal Justice” services, a well-established support model of evidence-based practices that have been shown to reduce relapse and recidivism by increasing access to services, such as medication assisted treatment, mental health and trauma-informed therapy, employment opportunities, and housing through intensive case management and peer-support.

The OJJDP grant will support a full-time Family Engagement and Outreach Coordinator, a Case Manager, and a half-time Research Assistant, in addition to increasing the level of services offered to Bristol County Juvenile Drug Court participants.

Specialty courts are problem-solving court sessions that provide court-supervised probation and mandated treatment focused on treating the mental health or substance abuse issues underlying criminal behavior. Massachusetts has four types of specialty court sessions: drug courts, mental health courts, veterans’ treatment courts, and a homeless court. There are 34 specialty courts in Massachusetts, including 22 adult drug courts, six mental health courts, three veterans’ treatment courts and three juvenile drug courts. The Trial Court aims to increase the number of specialty courts to 50 by the end of Fiscal Year 2017 in order to serve all areas of the state.