WEST BOYLSTON, Mass. - A new pilot program aims to study whether programs offered inside the Worcester County House of Corrections help treat inmates with substance use issues, both while incarcerated and when released. 

UMass Chan Medical School is working with the jail to look at programs offered to incarcerated individuals, including the six-month Substance Abuse Treatment Opportunity Program, or STOP, the three-month shortstop program for individuals with shorter sentences and the treatment program for individuals who receive vivitrol.

The school said it will help the jail better understand whether the programs they're offering are beneficial or if they need to be updated.  

"Do individuals who have completed these programs do better than people who have not been in these programs in terms of re-incarceration, in terms of hospital visit, the amount of treatment they get in community?” said assistant professor Ekaterina Pivovarova. “These are all really important questions for the jail in order to think about what their programming looks like but also for us in the community to understand what happens to people once they're incarcerated."

The study will look at data for people incarcerated between 2019-2021 who participated in the programs. Researchers will then look to DPH records to see what happens once they're released into the community. 

A $50,000 grant from UMass Chan’s Center for Clinical and Translational Science will allow researchers to complete the study.