Sen. Cindy Friedman testifies to support pilot program Billerica Minuteman

On Sept. 12, Sen. Cindy F. Friedman, D-Arlington, testified before the Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery in support of S.1091, An Act establishing a restoration center in Middlesex County, an initiative originally filed by the late Senator Donnelly. The bill would direct a large group of public safety and mental health experts to develop a Restoration Center pilot program in Middlesex County to serve as a jail diversion and treatment facility for individuals experiencing a behavioral health crisis.

According to data provided by NAMI Massachusetts, an organization that also testified in support of the bill, approximately 25 percent of state correctional inmates and up to 50 percent of county jail and house of correction detainees and inmates are receiving mental health services to some degree Additionally, roughly 14 percent of male and 30 percent of female inmates are believed to have serious mental illnesses, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depression.

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