Report: Inmate levels down but spending keeps rising

At sheriff facilities, it’s one guard for every two prisoners

THE NUMBER OF INMATES in the state’s prisons and jails is going down, but the cost of operating those facilities is going up, largely because correctional institutions are adding more employees and paying their existing workers more, according to a study by MassINC. The study found that the average daily inmate population of state and

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

Pollack takes issue with N-S Rail Link backers

Says it’s not inconsistent to pursue the link and S. Station expansion

TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY STEPHANIE POLLACK said on Monday that she saw no inconsistency in pushing ahead with a $2 billion plan to expand South Station even as the state is spending $2 million to study the feasibility of building an underground rail link between North and South Stations. Backers of the so-called North-South Rail Link, including

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

CommonWealth’s Spring 2017 issue is out!

Politics, Ideas & Civic Life in Massachusetts

Our Spring 2017 print issue has you covered. We’ve got stories on invasions, interesting people, politics, education, health policy, and even sports. I’ll give you a quick rundown below, and you can also listen to a Codcast of the CW staff discussing the issue. Don’t wait for the mail,  all of the stories in the issue are

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

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