LUDLOW, Mass. (WWLP) – A recent audit by the American Correctional Association gave a recovery program through the Hampden County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) a 100% score.

The department’s Western Massachusetts Recovery and Wellness Center (WMRWC) is a co-ed minimum security, community-based, residential treatment facility on Mill Street in Springfield. The program combines confinement with substance use treatment for persons from Hampden, Franklin, Berkshire, Hampshire and Worcester counties.

The audit reviewed 32 mandatory and 208 non-mandatory standards and found that the HCSO had achieved or exceeded all benchmarks aimed at maintaining a safe and humane correctional facility.

 “I couldn’t be more proud of the staff at the Western Massachusetts Recovery and Wellness Center for their hard work, attention to detail and dedication to helping the people battling substance use disorder who are in our care and custody,” said Sheriff Nick Cocchi. “Earning this recognition is a testament to the staff who punch in every day and put their heart into helping these individuals return to the community with the supports necessary to achieve and sustain long-term recovery.”

The perfect score has made the program a national model and ACA Auditor Chairperson Michael Radon recommended that the WMRWC staff present a workshop at the next ACA conference.

“We’re extremely proud of that, said Robert Rizzuto, Senior Public Information Officer for Hampden County Sheriff’s Department. “It’s just another affirmation that what we are doing is working, that we’re setting trends as far as how to aproach corrections from a nation wide stance.”

“In 30 years, I have not ever recommended a facility do something at ACA,” Radon added. “The facility is outstanding. It has a sense of quality of life. You can just feel it when you walk in here, this is a treatment program in a correctional environment. I can tell you, across the country we get to do these (audits) pretty frequently, and there are people that couldn’t imagine what you do here.” 

The audit included the condition of the facility, teamwork among the staff, treatment of residents, and positive outcomes among residents as they complete their recovery programs and prepare to return to life outside of confinement.

The WMRWC was developed in 1985 as a partnership between the sheriffs of Hampden, Berkshire, Franklin, Hampshire and Worcester counties to help men and women convicted of their third or subsequent drunk driving charges. With the drastic rise in drug use, especially of opioids, the program in recent years has expanded therapeutic focus and services for persons in all phases of recovery.

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