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Substance Abuse Treatment Opportunity Program (S.T.O.P.)

For many inmates, the Worcester County House of Correction is their first successful contact with treatment.

The Substance Abuse Department at Worcester County Jail & House of Correction consists of 8 full-time Substance Abuse Counselors, and a full-time Director and Assistant Director of the department.


Explore the programs below

S.T.O.P. Program

S.T.O.P. is a 6-month, intensive Substance Use Disorder (SUD) treatment program accommodating up to 24 inmates in a modified therapeutic community environment at Worcester County Jail & House of Correction. The program curriculum includes evidence-based practices from various sources, primarily consisting of cognitive behavioral therapy and courses developed by Hazelden. 

To enroll in the program, inmates must complete an application and send it to the Director of Substance Abuse. Their current records are reviewed by Director and Assistant Director. An interview is scheduled with the Assistant Director or Director. Only sentenced inmates may apply for admission to the program. The individual must have a minimum of a 6-month sentence to be accepted, should attend a minimum of 30 days in general population substance use classes, as well as remain D-board free for 30 days before admission.

Examples of S.T.O.P. groups:

  • Victim Impact (10 weeks)
  • Nurturing (10 weeks)
  • Domestic Violence Awareness
  • Relapse Prevention
  • Anger Management
  • Criminal Addictive Thinking
  • Pathways to Recovery
  • Co-Occurring Disorders
  • Parenting Education – facilitated by Pernet Family Services of Worcester that includes special contact visits for eligible inmates’ children
  • Alcoholics Anonymous Meetings – approved Central Mass community volunteers
  • Narcotics Anonymous Meetings – approved Central Mass community volunteers
  • Comprehensive Mental Health Services are provided on an as-needed weekly basis

Re-Entry / Reintegration

For many inmates, enrolling in S.T.O.P. may be their first time participating in a treatment program; this is only the beginning of their recovery journey. Individuals have the best chance for lifelong recovery if they are also able to meet with a Re-Entry/Reintegration Specialist who makes referrals and placements to an array of outpatient and residential programs to continue post-release treatment. This will provide the inmate with a safe transition back into the community in a structured and supportive environment.

Short S.T.O.P. is a shorter and accelerated version of the S.T.O.P. program that is 3 months long for inmates that have a short sentence. The application process and structure of the program are identical to S.T.O.P.

Additional Programming Offered

The Substance Abuse Department offers general population classes to other sentenced populations in the facility aside from participants in the S.T.O.P or Short S.T.O.P. programs. The core curriculum consists of substance abuse education, domestic violence awareness, anger management, criminal thinking, recovery maintenance, and reintegration.

The Substance Abuse Department takes addiction treatment very seriously here at Worcester County Jail & House of Correction; presently, there were 2,290 confirmed and estimated opioid-related overdose deaths in 2021, an estimated 185 more deaths than the prior year. Preliminary data from the first three months of 2022 show there were 551 confirmed and estimated opioid-related overdose deaths, a 4 percent decrease (an estimated 24 fewer deaths) than the same time last year.

Fentanyl remains a persistent factor in opioid-related overdose deaths in Massachusetts. Preliminary data show fentanyl was present at a rate of 93 percent where a toxicology report was available. The presence of fentanyl has increased about 1 percent per quarter since 2016, including in the pre-pandemic period from 2017 to 2019 when opioid-related overdose deaths in Massachusetts were on the decline.

Earned Good Time

Sentenced inmates at the Worcester County Jail & House of Correction may earn monthly, 10 days of sentence reduction by attending substance abuse and education programming; each weekday, substance use disorder classes are facilitated by counselors. Inmates may access two classes per week and must attend all scheduled groups and participate appropriately and sufficiently to be eligible for earned good time each month. The classes are voluntary, and a program request form must be submitted to the department for enrollment.

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