Highlights from The Third Annual Massachusetts Criminal Justice Reform Coalition Policy Summit

The MassCJRC Journal

Highlights from The Third Annual Massachusetts Criminal Justice Reform Coalition Policy Summit

Last Friday, over 200 leaders gathered for the Third Annual Massachusetts Criminal Justice Reform Coalition Policy Summit. Kevin Burke, a coalition co-chair and former Secretary of Public Safety, kicked off the summit by noting that this year’s convening held special significance. Massachusetts is entering a crucial phase of reform with the Council of State Governments conducting a top-to-bottom review of our criminal justice system. Acknowledging the successes of the past year, most notably with responding to the opioid crisis, he urged members of the Coalition to continue working with and supporting leaders fashioning a comprehensive reform agenda.

Two of Massachusetts’s longest serving sheriffs-Hampden County’s Mike Ash and Essex County’s Frank Cousins-gave keynote addresses, offering compelling thoughts on the progress that has been made through collaboration and opportunities to achieve further success by working together. Two panels of policy experts picked up on this theme, exploring cross-agency collaboration on data sharing and cross-agency collaboration to better serve individuals struggling with substance abuse and other behavioral health disorders.

The policy summit closed with an advanced screening of Beyond the Wall, a film produced by two award-winning filmmakers. The powerful documentary follows a small community of men released from prison and attempting to rebuild their lives in Lawrence and Lowell. The film was followed by an emotional and insightful Q & A with two former inmates featured in the film.

beyond the wall

Please watch the video below for highlights from the event.

 Read the latest from our Justice Reinvestment Policy Brief Series:


Harnessing the Power of Data for Justice Reinvestment in Massachusetts2

Solutions to better treat and manage substance abuse are paramount to an effective Justice Reinvestment strategy. Too many residents suffering from substance use disorder continue to enter the criminal justice system, which struggles to help these individuals recover from a life-threatening disease. For many offenders, un- or undertreated substance abuse aggravates anti-social behavior and lengthens criminal careers. The resulting cycle of recidivism creates significant costs for communities and places a significant strain on public resources. Learn More

1Mounting an Evidence-Based Criminal Justice Response to Substance Abuse and Drug Offending in Massachusetts.

Data are increasingly the lifeblood of an effective criminal justice system. Modern technology allows agencies to collect and exchange high-quality, actionable information. These data help frontline workers make informed decisions that reduce risk. And they provide managers and policymakers with vital information for the optimal allocation of resources. Learn More

Meet The Author

Our sponsors