The Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) has been awarded a $8,240,940 federal grant over five years that will support Connecticut’s Second Chance Society initiatives, which will helps nonviolent offenders successfully reintegrate into society and create more Connecticut jobs.
The initiative is designed to continue the progress being made in reducing the state’s dropping crime rate, which is at a 48-year low, as well as ensuring nonviolent offenders are successfully reintegrated into society and become productive workers in Connecticut’s economy.
While “Second Chance” encompasses more resources for ex-offenders, elimination of mandatory minimums for simple possession, and a realignment of Connecticut’s corrections strategy, the initiative also includes efforts to reduce and prevent addiction, treating it as disease rather than a crime worthy of lifetime punishment.
The grant will fund community-level agencies in medium and large-sized urban areas with a high rate of alcohol and other drug use that demonstrate a need to improve their substance abuse prevention strategies. Projects will aim to reduce alcohol and drug abuse by adolescents and young adults, and the grant award will be used to specifically focus on the reduction of disparities in substance use risk and consequences. That means communities that are faced with especially high challenges in terms of resources, infrastructure, population, diversity and severity of substance use-related problems will be examined.
“The work that will be conducted with these grant dollars will build on significant reductions in underage drinking and its negative impacts, including motor vehicle crashes and risky behaviors,” DMHAS Commissioner Miriam Delphin-Rittmon said. “Connecticut survey data shows that prevention strategies are working to reduce underage drinking and a continued emphasis on prevention will maintain the downward trend in substance abuse by young people.”