The new law requires the Division of Addiction Services to grant residential treatment program licenses to programs operating in state correctional facilities and county jails that meet or substantially meet requirements for licensure.
The purpose of this law is to ensure that these programs are not denied licensure because they are located within a correctional setting.
Previously, a person convicted under federal or state law of any felony or crime that involves the possession, use, or distribution of a controlled dangerous substance, and who would otherwise be eligible for general public assistance benefits, was ineligible to receive the benefits unless the person had enrolled in or completed a licensed residential drug treatment program.
The new law (A-2295) would ensure that incarcerated individuals who participate in and complete drug treatment programs that meet or substantially meet requirements for licensure as residential programs are not denied eligibility for general public assistance benefits upon release.
“The only thing that sets these drug treatment programs apart from those that are licensed is that they are located within a correctional facility,” said Prieto. “If the purpose and scope of the program is the same and an individual has completed the program, then he or she should be able to receive these benefits, which can improve his or her chances of successfully reintegrating into society.”
Under the law, drug treatment programs in correctional facilities which meet or substantially meet the licensing criteria will be eligible for certain grants and additional benefits that now are only available to licensed residential drug treatment programs.