New Law Ends Civil Commitments To State Prison For Women

Massachusetts is officially ending its longstanding practice of sending women with alcohol or substance abuse problems but who have committed no crimes to the state prison for women in Framingham.

Republican Gov. Charlie Baker on Monday signed a bill approved last week by the Democratic-controlled Legislature that will give women access to addiction treatment services at Shattuck and Taunton state hospitals.

Massachusetts law allows a doctor or family member to ask a court to involuntarily commit individuals believed to be a danger because of alcohol or substance abuse.

State officials have been promising since 1987 to stop civil commitments to the prison.

"I'm sorry it took so long to make this happen, but I'm extremely pleased to be able to sign this bill today," Baker said Monday.

The bill was signed as House and Senate negotiators continue working on the final version of wide-ranging legislation to address the state's deadly opioid addiction crisis.

With reporting by The Associated Press and the WBUR Newsroom


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