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Refunding Corrections

Part Two: 7th Annual Policy Summit in Pursuit of Justice

February 11, 2021 @ 10:00 am - 11:30 am

About the event:

Scrutiny of the effectiveness of public safety expenditures within the criminal justice system – from incarceration to reentry programs – is increasing, prompting calls for reassessment. A new approach and reallocation of resources could help heal the deep scars left by tough-on-crime era criminal justice policies on communities of color, and create better outcomes for people currently and formerly incarcerated.

During this session, we will hear firsthand accounts from correctional officers who see the need for dramatic change, as well as those advocating from the outside for radically different policy approaches to correctional spending.

The Coalition will also recognize the leadership of John Larivee, a founding member of the coalition, who has retired after 46 years with Community Resources for Justice.

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Welcome and Award Presentation:

Greg Torres, MassINC Board Chair

Research Presentation:

Ben Forman, Research Director, MassINC

Benjamin Forman is MassINC’s research director. He coordinates the development of the organization’s research agenda and oversees production of research reports. Ben has authored a number of MassINC publications and he speaks frequently to organizations and media across Massachusetts. With a background in urban revitalization and sustainable growth and development, he is uniquely suited to the organization’s focus on strong communities and economic security.



Sarah Betancourt, Reporter, CommonWealth

Sarah Betancourt is a bilingual journalist reporting across New England. Prior to joining Commonwealth, Sarah was a reporter for The Associated Press in Boston, and a correspondent with The Boston Globe and The Guardian. She has written about immigration, social justice, and health policy for outlets like NBC, The Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism, and the New York Law Journal. Sarah has reported stories such as a national look at teacher shortages, how databases are used by police departments to procure information on immigrants, and uncovered the spread of an infectious disease in children at a family detention center. She has covered the State House, local and national politics, crime and general assignment.




Brian Dawe, National Director, One Voice United Intelligence Network

Brian Dawe started his career as a state Correctional Officer in Massachusetts in 1982. He is currently the National Director for One Voice United and founder of the Correctional Officer Intelligence Network. He is a member of the One Voice United Medal of Honor Committee. In 1988 he co-founded the Massachusetts Correctional Officers Federated Union where he served for nine years on the Union Executive Board. He has gained a reputation as a fierce advocate for his profession and has been deemed an “expert witness” on corrections in several legal and legislative forums.



Senator Adam Gomez, Hampden District

Senator Adam Gomez defeated a five-term incumbent in the September 1st Democratic primary, had no opponent in the general election, becoming the first Latino elected to the State Senate from Springfield and the first Puerto Rican to serve in the Senate.






Yolanda Smith, Special Sheriff / Superintendent, Suffolk County House of Corrections

Yolanda Smith has been with the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department since 1995, beginning her career as a correction officer at the House of Correction. In 1997, she became a DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) officer and worked in the community and in the public school systems. She has also served as Corporal, Lieutenant, Captain, Assistant Deputy Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent and in February of 2013, she was promoted by Sheriff Steven W. Tompkins to the rank of Superintendent of the Suffolk County House of Correction where she oversees an inmate population of nearly 1,800 and a staff of more than 500 trained correction officers.



Closing Remarks:

Segun Idowu, Executive Director, Black Economic Council of Massachusetts 

Segun ​currently serves as the Executive Director for BECMA where he advocates for policies, practices, and contracts that positively impact its member businesses.

In April 2020, Boston Magazine ​recognized Segun as one of the “100 Most Influential People in the City of Boston,” and in July, the ​Boston Globe ​recognized him on the front page of their Sunday edition as a “Man of the Moment” for his work in ramping up BECMA’s efforts to advocate for and direct resources to Black businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, he was recognized by ​Boston Business Journal a​s part of their “Power 50” list for similar work.

Register Here

Learn more about the first session in our two-part series on the criminal justice system.