Community Justice

Transforming lives and building healthy communities.


Sarah Abbott of Advocates Jail Diversion Program and Framinghan Police Department

Advocates Community Justice programs support men and women whose involvement in the criminal justice system is rooted in behavioral health problems, such as addiction, mental health conditions, or trauma. Our programs address these underlying causes by connecting participants to appropriate treatment, housing, vocational opportunities and social services, so that they can lead healthy and productive lives in the community. By reducing repeat offenses, they also help make our communities healthier and safer for everyone.


Jail Diversion

Advocates operates jail diversion programs in conjunction with police departments in several Massachusetts communties, including Ashland, Framingham, Holliston, Hopkinton, Marlborough, Sherborn, and Watertown. Advocates award-winning model involves extensive collaboration between the police and mental health experts. Our mental health clinicians train and work alongside police officers to help evaluate behavior and determine appropriate treatment. Cross-training between the police and clinicians has led to mutual understanding and respect. Police departments report that the number of ‘repeat players’ has decreased as people are referred to appropriate services. Learn more.

Correctional Mental Health

Advocates provides comprehensive mental health services at the Worcester County Jail & House of Correction. Our team of social workers, psychiatrists and nurses provides screening, treatment, medication management, crisis intervention, and suicide prevention services for more than 1,400 inmates at the facility.

Behavioral Health Treatment Court Collaborative (BHTCC)

A BHTCC creates a coordinated system to ensure people with behavioral health and recovery needs involved in the justice system are identified and receive appropriate services.  Funded in part by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Advocates partners with Ayer District Court and Worcester Superior Court to provide a spectrum of evidence-based, trauma-informed, behavioral health services to support the complex needs of eligible individuals.

Reentry Services

Worcester Initiative for Supported Reentry (WISR)

WISR is a partnership-based project that creates safer and healthier communities by reducing criminal recidivism among men returning to the community from jail and prison. A fragmented system of reentry takes an enormous toll on society and individuals reentering the community. WISR is committed to transforming that system in order to improve public safety and public health, while reducing the cost to taxpayers. WISR provides evidence-based assessments, intensive case management and treatment coordination to help participants access gainful employment, stable housing, social services, and health care. Learn more.

Parole Reentry Services

Advocates also provides reentry navigation services to the Parole Board. Reentry navigator staff are embedded in the Parole Region 4 and Region 9 Offices in Framingham and Worcester. Like the WISR project, parole reentry navigators use a comprehensive case management model that includes collaboration and coordination with prisons, jails, post-release community supervision, and community-based social and health service providers at the three stages of service delivery: in-reach at the Parole Transitional Treatment Program, community transition, and community integration

First Offender Driver Alcohol Education

For individuals convicted of driving under the influence for the first time, our Driver Alcohol Education program is designed to reduce the risk of future  incidents by helping participants change their behaviors and attitudes. For many, this will mean reducing or eliminating their use of alcohol. The program provides 40 hours of education over a 16-week period and includes an assessment, self-help meetings, and victim impact meetings located at Advocates Community Counseling - Harvard. Referrals  are made by the adjudicating district court.

Second Offender Aftercare

This program provides one year of aftercare treatment for individuals convicted of their second driving-under-the-influence offense after they complete a 14-day residential program. The ultimate goal of the program is for participants to take responsibility for their previous behavior and make the changes necessary to cease further incidents. Second Offender Aftercare is available through Advocates Community Counseling - Harvard. Referrals are made by the adjudicating court.

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Related News/Updates

Breakfast with Westborough Police Department

Every month Chief Jeffrey Lourie of the Westborough Police Department hosts "Breakfast with the Chief" at the Westborough Senior Center.

14th Annual New England School Safety Conference

Last month, Dr. Sarah Abbott, our Jail Diversion Program Director and Taylor Hayden, our Sudbury/Hudson co-response clinician, sat on a panel at the 14th Annual New England School Safety Conference