Diverting defendants to treatment

Model pretrial jail programs provide withdrawal management and medication-assisted treatment for jail detainees

Over the last decade, jails and prisons have pioneered medication-assisted treatment for individuals with opioid use disorders, but these programs generally do not serve jail detainees held pending trial or case resolution.

Innovative pretrial programs in the Essex County Sheriff’s Department in Massachusetts and the Louisville Metro Department of Corrections in Kentucky not only offer medication-assisted treatment to detainees to promote community sentences that will prevent their return to jail, but also address another major challenge facing jails across this country, detoxification.

It is estimated that 2,464,225 jail inmates in 2016 underwent detoxification upon entering. That’s nearly 81% of all opioid detoxifications countrywide, which makes jails the largest detoxification centers in America. Both Essex and Louisville provide safe withdrawal management for the increasing number of individuals who enter jail under the influence of opioids, alcohol, benzodiazepines or other substances.


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