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WORCESTER – Worcester County Sheriff Lewis G. Evangelidis is pleased to announce the award of a $110,000 grant from the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security to expand the Substance Abuse Treatment Program (STOP).

In 2013, the WCSO established STOP which is an evidence-based correctional therapeutic community model for reducing recidivism. The STOP program is a 6 month, segregated program that focuses on changing attitudes and behavior through cognitive behavioral therapy to address substance abuse and other criminogenic needs.

“70% of WCSO sentenced inmates report that substance abuse influenced the commission of a crime.” said Sheriff Evangelidis.

Compared to all 2016 sentenced inmate releases, the 48 participants that successfully completed the STOP program (65%) had significantly lower rates of contact with the criminal justice system 1 year post-release.

Evangelidis continued, “Despite its effectiveness, only 1 in 3 STOP eligible inmates receive the cognitive interventions offered by the program.”

Grant funding will be utilized to hire 2 full time substance abuse counselors to provide cognitive behavioral therapy to 80 additional inmates at a medium to high risk to re-offend with substance abuse and other criminogenic needs.