Introducing the latest publication from MassINC and the Gateway Cities Innovation Institute
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Michael Jonas Executive Editor, CommonWealth

Michael Jonas has worked in journalism in Massachusetts since the early 1980s. Before joining the CommonWealth staff in early 2001, he was a contributing writer for the magazine for two years. His cover story in CommonWealth’s Fall 1999 issue on Boston youth outreach workers was selected for a PASS (Prevention for a Safer Society) Award from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency.

Michael got his start in journalism at the Dorchester Community News, a community newspaper serving Boston’s largest neighborhood, where he covered a range of urban issues. Since the late 1980s, he has been a regular contributor to the Boston Globe. For 15 years he wrote a weekly column on local politics for the Boston Sunday Globe’s City Weekly section.

Michael has also worked in broadcast journalism. In 1989, he was a co-producer for “The AIDS Quarterly,” a national PBS series produced by WGBH-TV in Boston, and in the early 1990s, he worked as a producer for “Our Times,” a weekly magazine program on WHDH-TV (Ch. 7) in Boston.

Michael lives in Dorchester with his wife and their two daughters.

ARTICLES By Michael Jonas

Gateway Cities come of age

The Codcast

It was 10 years ago that MassINC launched its Gateway Cities initiative with a report documenting the challenges — and huge opportunities — in the state’s once vibrant industrial cities. “Massachusetts’ proud, old manufacturing cities must be counted, on balance, as distressed,” it said. Yet, concluded the report, “For the first time in decades, these cities’ reconnection

Oversight of Lawrence schools shifting to state-appointed board

Riley leaving after six years, may seek state education commissioner’s post

  EDUCATION OFFICIALS UNVEILED the next chapter in state oversight of the Lawrence schools on Wednesday with the announcement that the state receiver, Jeff Riley, will be stepping down at the end of the school year in June and new state-appointed board will oversee the district. The state took control of the city’s struggling school system

Senate goes big on criminal justice bill

Sweeping proposal would touch most parts of system

THE SENATE IS poised to consider a wide-ranging criminal justice bill that would reform everything from the bail system to mandatory minimum sentences and fees and penalties that weigh heavily on low-income defendants. The bill aims not only to reduce incarceration rates, but to eliminate various ways people get tripped up by a system that sometimes

Mass. rating plan deemed unfair to high-poverty schools

Report faults state system for not using ‘growth’ as bigger factor

MASSACHUSETTS GETS A poor grade from a Washington-based policy organization on how its plan to comply with a new federal education law treats schools with high rates of poverty. But a number of education policy thinkers in the state are pushing back against the report and say its message undermines an important pillar of education reform

Boston reentry initiative hits the skids

Award-winning program to aid those leaving prison loses federal funding

BOSTON’S WIDELY ACCLAIMED prisoner reentry program, which is aimed at reducing recidivism by helping offenders who are released from prison with everything from employment and housing to addiction services, was quietly shut down last fall when a federal grant funding the efforts wasn’t renewed. The shutdown, which was never announced, is a big setback to

Mass. voters strongly back criminal justice reform, new poll says

Residents favor preventive measures over incarceration

MASSACHUSETTS RESIDENTS STRONGLY support reform of the state’s criminal justice system, including elimination of mandatory minimum sentences and a greater emphasis on rehabilitation and education programs than incarceration, according to a new poll. Two-thirds of residents said prevention programs for youth and job training and education for inmates should be higher priorities in addressing crime

Legislators call for broader criminal justice reform

State needs to seize the opportunity for change, say lawmakers

LAWMAKERS GATHERED OUTSIDE the House chamber Tuesday to declare their commitment to wide-ranging criminal justice reforms, further evidence of a push on Beacon Hill for changes that go beyond a consensus bill rolled out by Gov. Charlie Baker in February. “We are all here united today because we believe that this session is an opportunity

Voc-tech tension

Massachusetts vocational schools are a big success story, but are they shutting out those who might need them most?

KELSEY CLARK, A SENIOR at Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School, is showing a visitor work from her graphic design portfolio. There is a pointillism-style poster she drew for assignment to promote a rock concert (she says it left her practically drawing dots in her sleep). A brightly colored infographic poster that she

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

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