Middlesex County, MA

Action Areas Diversion Mental Health

Last Updated

Background & Approach

The Middlesex County Restoration Center Commission was created by the Massachusetts Criminal Justice Reform Act of 2018 with the goal of researching and developing a model for diverting people with behavioral health conditions from arrest or unnecessary emergency department utilization. The Commission found that disproportionate numbers of people with mental health and substance use needs are (1) interacting with police, (2) incarcerated or detained, (3) utilizing emergency departments for behavioral health assessments even when inpatient hospitalization is not the outcome, and (4) “boarding” (waiting more than 72 hours) in emergency departments while awaiting psychiatric inpatient beds.

As a result of these findings, the Commission designed a model for a Restoration Center pilot in Middlesex County. The model seeks to address the identified gaps and needs in Middlesex County, drawing on best practices and evidence-based programming from around the country. A Restoration Center pilot in Middlesex County will seek to provide urgent and crisis care with core components including triage and assessment with medical clearance, crisis stabilization for both mental health and substance use, respite, and aftercare planning including case management and social determinants of health navigation. The Commission and its partner, Commonwealth Medicine, now seek to identify additional sources of funding and procure a vendor to launch a pilot Restoration Center.

Lead Agency

Middlesex Sheriff’s Office and Massachusetts Association for Mental Health

Contact Information

Catia Sharp
Commonwealth Medicine, a division of UMass Chan Medical School


Massachusetts State Senate Office of Senator Cindy Friedman; Massachusetts State General Court Office of State Representative Kenneth Gordon; Massachusetts Association for Behavioral Healthcare; Bedford MA Police Department; MA Office of the Trial Court; the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) Massachusetts; Massachusetts Executive Office for Health and Human Services; Massachusetts Department of Mental Health; Massachusetts Bureau of Substance Addiction Services