BOSTON – On October 22, Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington) testified before the Joint Committee on the Judiciary on legislation she filed that would end the court’s practice of incarcerating a defendant with a substance use disorder whose only infraction during pretrial release or while on probation is a drug relapse. This legislation is part of Friedman’s ongoing effort to address the opioid crisis, end the criminalization of substance use disorder, and decrease recidivism and unnecessary incarceration in the Commonwealth.
“It is both unsafe and unjust to require defendants suffering from substance use disorder to remain relapse-free or else face jail,” said Friedman, a member of the Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery. “It is also contrary to all of the scientific research, which tells us that relapses are part of recovery. The passage of this bill is essential step in helping individuals undergo the natural process of recovery and get the treatment they need without the fear of being taken back to a jail cell during pretrial or probation.”