Have you served time due to your gambling activities?
Are you having trouble finding a job since you’ve been released?
Are you an employer looking to help someone who has been imprisoned?

We understand the problem. We can help.

We know that sometimes gambling addiction can lead to crime. That’s why in addition to our collaborations within the judicial system, with support from the Massachusetts Department of Corrections (DOC), we created our workforce development program, Square One.

Square One aims to help close the gaps of relapse, sustain recovery, and reduce recidivism.

Square One

On Friday, February 28, 2015 The Massachusetts Council on Gaming and Health and the Square One Advisory Board hosted a Criminal Justice Summit called; Criminal Justice and Community Health in the Era of Expanded Gambling: Connecting Intervention through Reentry.

The Square One Program is a resource for people impacted by gambling disorder; particularly those who have been incarcerated due to gambling-related crimes. Square One provides referrals to providers who understand and recognize the unique challenges that gambling disorder plays in reintegration and reemployment.

The purpose of the summit was to connect key stakeholders with content experts in the fields of corrections, reentry services, probation, parole, specialty and drug courts, and like-minded social service providers in conversation. Summit attendees were given the chance to discuss new challenges and solutions pertaining to gambling disorder in their respective domains.

Throughout the course of the morning attendees were given the opportunity to hear a number of speakers who have in-depth knowledge and experience that relate back to problem gambling and the Criminal Justice System. The audience was able to hear from speakers such as; Kathryn Power, M.Ed., Regional Administrator for Region One for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), an operating division of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), who spoke about SAMHSA and the recovery work they have been promoting.

Mark G. Farrell, J.D., presented on Problem Gambling and the Judicial System. Judge Farrell elaborated on co-morbidities by explaining that “addiction problems manifest themselves into gambling addiction.” “Most people look at problem gamblers not as disease ridden but bad decision makers.” Using his knowledge on problem gambling Judge Farrell founded a Gambling Treatment Court that opened in 2001. Located in New York, this court is the only one of its kind.

Middlesex County Sheriff, Peter Koutoujian also spoke to the audience. Koutoujian shared he recognizes gambling is a problem in the state. He said, “We can’t just blame casinos. These issues have been there before and they will be here after, we need to work with services to help the public.”

The afternoon allowed for attendees to participate in the “World Café Process,” a process in which three different group discussions were held so participants could discuss how to address problem gambling in their respective fields. Each conversation was centered around a question that led to the dialogue of problem gambling as it relates to law enforcement, courts, corrections, prevention, coordination, evaluation opportunities, policies, laws and strategies. This process allowed evocative thinking and input that was useful and meaningful in determining what the next steps might be for The Massachusetts Council on Gaming and Health and Square One.

The Summit really raised my knowledge and awareness.”

The feedback we received will help us organize our efforts moving forward. Based on the results it appears as though much of what we will do moving forward is to focus on communication and awareness among those agencies and people that were identified as important in this endeavor. If you would like to learn more about the Square One Program please contact or call 617-426-4554.

Read more about Square One.

If you’re an employer, learn how becoming a Square One Affiliate can help your business thrive.


“I kept borrowing money from work with every intention of paying it back. Unfortunately, I got caught first.” –- Mike M.

“A real big shot I was. I snatched a purse to make a bet, got caught, got arrested and got probation.” –- Tom C.

1-2. Williams R, Royston J, Hagen B. Gambling and problem gambling within forensic populations. Criminal Justice and Behavior. 2005; 32(6):665-689.