For many former prisoners transitioning back into their communities, the cycle of re-incarceration is difficult to break. And studies show that released inmates who have substance use disorder—often combined with another mental disorder—are more likely to end up back behind bars if they don’t get proper treatment and access to community services.

The five-year Gándara Center-Plymouth County MISSION Re-entry Program, to begin in September of 2018 at the Plymouth County Correctional Facility, will provide coordinated and integrated services for 260 incarcerated men who are assessed with substance use disorder, co-occurring other mental health issues, and are at high risk to reoffend.

The project was funded by a $425,000 grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

In the first year, the program will assist 40 individuals who are within four months of finishing their sentences and returning to the greater Brockton and Plymouth communities. All 260 clients across five years will be the focus of the evidence-based practice called MISSION-CJ (Maintaining Independence and Sobriety through Systems Integration, Outreach, and Networking-Criminal Justice).

The MISSION-CJ model, developed at the UMass Medical School, integrates Critical Time Intervention and Dual-Recovery Treatment evidence-based practices and a wrap-around team approach (clinician, case manager, and peer) to increase access to treatment, community linkages, recovery support, and support in building positive family/community connections. “The program will also provide a full array of community linkages, including mental health/substance abuse treatment, medication-assisted treatment, medical, dental, infectious disease treatment, vocational and employment placement, and sober housing placement,” said Virginia Mercure, director of peer recovery support services at the Gándara Center.

In addition, the program will also feature a mindfulness and peacebuilding class that promotes a process of healing from a multicultural perspective. Recovery support services will be provided, including transportation, a vocational unit and linkages, and wrap-around case management that offers linkages to benefits, money management, relapse prevention, and life skills—along with substance abuse education curricula.

The goals of the project are to expand access to pre- and post-release services to offenders; increase housing and economic stability; reduce substance use, crime, and violence; and prevent recidivism.