The Massachusetts Sheriffs’ Association represents the collective voice of all Massachusetts Sheriffs. One of its primary responsibilities is to advance legislative initiatives that address the care and custody needs of incarcerated individuals while ensuring health and safety. The MSA monitors all legislation both on the state and federal level that impacts our criminal justice system. We work with legislators, advocates, and public health and safety officials to develop policies and practices that best reflects the unique needs of the Sheriff's Offices.
Recent Legislative Initiatives
Special Commission on Correction Funding (101 Commission)
The FY 2020 budget established the Special Commission on Correctional Funding. For two years the Commission worked to understand the funding needs of the Sheriff's Offices and the Department of Corrections. This was a collaboration that demonstrated the effectiveness of working collectively to improve reporting, create unified metrics, and understand the funding needs to support programming. The Special Commission on Correctional Funding and the MSA are both working towards similar goals- make the most efficient use of taxpayer money while ensuring the state’s correctional structure sets high standards to return people back to the community better than when they were first incarcerated. Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson, Essex County Sheriff Kevin Coppinger, and retired Sheriff Michael Ashe were honored to be on the Commission representing the Sheriffs across the state.
More Information: https://correctionalfunding.com
Final Report: https://correctionalfunding.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Final-Report-of-the-Special-Commission-on-Correctional-Spending-For-Filing.pdf
Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT)
The MSA continues to partner with the Department of Health and legislative leaders to expand funding to support Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) in all county correctional facilities in the Commonwealth. MAT programs are designed to assist people with opioid-use disorder. The program calls for the administration of all three FDA approved forms of MAT: Naltrexone (Vivitrol), Methadone, and Buprenorphine (Suboxone). Providing MAT during incarceration can be life changing, reducing the likelihood of an opioid overdose fatality upon release, improving health outcomes, reducing recidivism, and ultimately saving lives.
View the MAT press conference video
Medicaid Inmate Exclusion Policy (MIEP)
The MSA is committed to working with both national and state partners to address the inequities of the Federal Medicaid Inmate Exclusion Policy (MIEP), which currently prevents eligible individuals from access to Medicaid, Medicare, or CHIPS benefits while incarcerated. In partnership with our state MIEP Team (DPH, Mass Health, MSA, EOPSS, DYS, and other strategic partners), a Medicaid Waiver request was submitted in December 2021 to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) as part of the state’s 1115 Demonstration extension request.
The proposal , if accepted, would allow:
Coverage of all eligible youth held in Department of Youth Services custody;
Coverage of all eligible adults with chronic conditions and/or behavioral health conditions held in correctional settings for their last 30 days in pre-trial detention or in a sentenced incarceration status;
One year of continuous eligibility post-release for all individuals leaving correctional settings.
This proposal is intended to improve health outcomes by increasing enrollment in MassHealth and improving continuity of healthcare coverage and access to healthcare services upon release.