Program could halt ‘revolving door’ of jail facing those with mental illness Worcester Telegram

BOSTON – Looking for an exit from the “revolving door” of people with mental health disorders going back and forth from emergency rooms to the streets or jail, advocates asked lawmakers on Tuesday to help create a “restoration center” in Middlesex County.

The center would be a facility that provides treatment, including detox and beds, and offers police a place to bring those suffering from mental illness, according to June Binney, director of criminal justice diversion for the National Alliance on Mental Illness Massachusetts.

Advocates testified in favor of legislation (S 1091) that was filed by the late Sen. Kenneth Donnelly that would task a commission with developing a three-year plan to build a restoration center in Middlesex County. The bill has support from Sen. Cindy Friedman, Donnelly’s former aide who was elected to the Senate this summer, and Middlesex Sheriff Peter Koutoujian.

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