Refunding Corrections

7th Annual Policy Summit | Event Recording

Focusing on the role corrections officers play in rehabilitation and justice reinvestment, on February 11, MassINC and panel experts explored the challenges and opportunities that come with reinventing corrections.

For the first time in a generation, prison crowding is no longer endemic in Massachusetts. Currently, just one facility op­erates above its design capacity; a decade ago, more than one-third of state prisons and nearly half of county correctional facilities housed at least 50 per­cent more prisoners than they were built to accommodate. In July 2020, state and county correctional facilities held just over 12,000 prisoners, which is roughly half of the 2008 population peak. While incarceration rates remain significantly higher than pre-tough-on-crime-era levels, Massachusetts is finally positioned to operate prisons in a manner that provides rehabilitation and reduces repeat offending.

With amble space and low staff ratios, the commonwealth has an opportunity to rethink corrections and refocus on recidivism reduction. Achieving this policy goal, however, is conditional on correctional officers, a group that is often left out of conversations on criminal justice reform. The report argues that this omission is misguided both because the success of therapeutic models hinges on buy-in from correctional officers and because these frontline workers stand to benefit directly from reforms aimed at making prisons more rehabilitative.

MassINC has just released a new policy brief outlining policy recommendations that make better use of limited public safety resources by reducing the incarcerated population and reinventing correctional practices with more leadership and direction from those on the frontlines. Click here to read it.

Watch the event recording now:

You can also access Ben Forman’s presentation here.

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