State leaders unveil bill aimed at cutting recidivism

Officials divided on further changes, Gants urges repeal of most mandatory minimums

STATE LEADERS UNVEILED long-awaited legislation Tuesday aimed at reducing recidivism rates in the criminal justice system. But whether the bill tackles the most pressing issue facing the system or simply marks a good first step in what should be a more sweeping reform process depends on which leader is speaking. That divide is likely to

Senators outline broad criminal justice reform agenda

Lawmakers look to broaden scope beyond pending report

SAYING THE TIME is right for the state to take a look at sweeping criminal justice reforms, a group of Democratic state senators is urging the Legislature to take up bills addressing everything from mandatory minimum drug sentences to fines and fees that lawmakers say are unfairly leading some people to spend time behind bars

Mom-and-pop economic development

Boosting unbanked immigrant entrepreneurs in Lawrence

JOSE ROSARIO CAN barely walk a step without pointing to some of the changes he’s made since becoming the owner of Universal Auto Repair in Lawrence. There are the four new vehicle lifts; the diagnostic computers; the uniforms for his staff, complete with name tags; the fresh coat of interior paint; the break room for

Political humor can be fun – and healthy

Healey nearly choked on one 'mean tweet'

A LITTLE LAUGHTER goes a long way in politics. Donald Trump should keep that in mind as he takes over at the White House. Someone in his position needs a sense of humor, an ability to laugh and be laughed at. But so far Trump doesn’t get it. Al Franken, the former Saturday Night Live

Senate going on the road again

Transportation will be a focus of Commonwealth Conversations

THE MASSACHUSETTS SENATE IS GOING on the road again this year, holding nine so-called Commonwealth Conversations around the state with a special focus on regional transportation needs. The day-long events will for the second year in a row allow senators to hear directly from people in each region of the state, but one common focus

CommonWealth’s Winter 2017 issue is out!

In CommonWealth’s Winter 2017 issue, we introduce you to Steve Kadish, the governor’s chief of staff. Kadish isn’t the hard-charging political strategist usually associated with that position. He’s an operations guy, the head of an internal SWAT team whose last name has become a verb inside the administration. As Jay Ash, the secretary of housing and

Jobless rates dropping all over MA

Of 10 metro areas in US with biggest declines, 7 from Bay State

NEW ECONOMIC DATA suggest the state’s labor market is nearing full capacity, which is translating into employment gains across the state and not just in metropolitan Boston. A group of Massachusetts economists released a MassBenchmarks report on Wednesday suggesting tight labor market conditions are likely to lead to worker shortages in some occupations and high

MassINC Year In Review

Looking back at our work in 2016

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year! 2016 has been an incredible year for the MassINC family which includes our Policy Center, CommonWealth magazine and the MassINC Polling Group. Please take a moment to look through the highlights of substantive research, civic events, and journalism from 2016 and consider making a year-end donation that will help us

Activists interrupt criminal justice meeting

Advocates worried reform bill won’t address sentencing issues

CHANTING “JOBS NOT JAIL,” advocates for criminal justice reform briefly disrupted the final meeting of a state criminal justice policy commission today, part of a growing chorus of voices expressing concern that state leaders are preparing to put forward legislation that won’t include major changes to sentencing laws. The protest came as advocates and lawmakers

Mapping incarceration in Boston

Study finds minority neighborhoods burdened by high jail rates

A SWATH OF mostly minority Boston neighborhoods is so heavily affected by the criminal justice system that nearly every street has a resident who has spent time in jail, a concentration of incarceration that is costing millions of dollars and threatening the social fabric of neighborhoods already struggling with high rates of poverty and other

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