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Gateway City Leaders

Looking to Colorado for a True Model of Justice Reinvestment

The MassCJRC Journal

Colorado’s novel approach to justice reinvestment offered new perspective for leaders gathered for a MassINC forum at the State House last week. The event featured Christie Donner, Executive Director of the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition, who joined via Skype to detail the process of creating a fund that moves savings produced by parole reforms

Increasing access to economic opportunity with affordable transit

A growing number of transit agencies discount fares for low-income riders

Rising rents are pushing low-income transit-dependent households awy from strong public transit and out to Gateway Cities, where service is less frequent. These residents have just two costly options to get to back to better paying jobs in Boston: driving or taking the commuter rail. Compared to the subway, with its flat fare of $2.25

Policymaking by presumption

The Gateway Cities Journal

In 2002, Massachusetts voters went to the ballot box and passed an initiative requiring schools to deliver all instruction in English. While there wasn’t much evidence that this would improve learning, voters were still sold on the idea that professional educators didn’t know how to do their job; allowing students to learn math and other

Four things we learned about Gateway City travel this summer

Understanding mobility patterns

The Googles of this world have loads of travel data to understand mobility patterns at minute detail. While most researchers and planners never get a good look at these real-time data, we do have two interesting sources of information that can help us learn more about how people travel across the state. One resource is

Reading employer demand for transit in the job growth tea leaves

The picture we get is revealing

The best data we have to look at where jobs are growing over time come to us at the municipal level.* This isn’t great for getting a sense of whether employers are migrating to locations with strong transit service—ideally we’d have job counts for Census tracts or smaller geographies that represent actual station areas—but it’s

As Tsongas bows out, does the GOP have a shot in the Third?

The Topline

Massachusetts Congresswoman Niki Tsongas announced yesterday she will not run again for the seat she has held since 2007. Past election results show her seat in the Third Congressional District may be less safe for Democrats than it first appears. Though Tsongas cruised to reelection in her own recent matchups, Charlie Baker won the district

Sizing up 3 options on ICE detainers

Does Baker’s approach represent middle ground?

Debate over immigration policy has bubbled up for years at the federal level, and now the recent decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in the case of Lunn v. Commonwealth has brought it to the forefront for state legislators, too. Attention has coalesced around three bills, each touching on a similar set of issues,

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

No magic pill on repeal and replace

The Topline

Let’s just say it. There is no popular replacement for the Affordable Care Act. Republicans in Congress have railed against Obamacare since its passage in 2010, and held frequent votes to repeal it in the intervening years. But after 6 months of unified control of the House, Senate, and White House, one thing is crystal

Refusing to Remain #StuckOnReplay

The MassCJRC Journal

On July 13th, the community came together to deliver a clear message: Massachusetts can no longer delay; we need comprehensive criminal justice reform. The gathering, entitled The Fierce Urgency Of Now, Or Else #StuckOnReplay, drew hundreds of individuals, advocates, and community leaders to Dudley Square to share stories and issue a passionate call for change. The program

Press coverage

  • Your View: MassINC — Regeneration Project understands New Bedford education

    The Regeneration Project — a group of community leaders convened by the New Bedford Economic Development Council — deserves recognition for raising awareness that the city’s fortunes lie in the fate of its public schools (“Our View: Statehouse must boost its support for education,” May 24). Whether it’s growing a skilled workforce or maintaining healthy neighborhoods, nothing is more essential in today’s economy for regional urban centers like New Bedford.

    It’s especially notable that these leaders have the courage to acknowledge that New Bedford’s public schools are simply not going to meet the needs of their students without additional resources. This sound judgment is backed by an independent commission formed by the Legislature two years ago to look at whether schools in Massachusetts have the funding they need.

    Read more…

  • EDITORIAL: Cut the waste before enacting new tax schemes

    As for efficiencies, one likely candidate appears to be the state’s correctional system, where a 12 percent drop in the inmate population since 2011 hasn’t been offset with a similar decrease in spending. Rather, it’s increased 18 percent over the same period. Those contradictory figures were the subject of a forum earlier in the week by MassINC and the Massachusetts Criminal Justice Reform Coalition.

    Read more…

  • Aim prison budgets at rehabilitation

    THERE IS A LOT of talk in Massachusetts about moving away from the misguided “tough-on-crime” policies of the 1990s and instead embracing a more rehabilitative approach to criminal justice. But as an important new study set for release Monday demonstrates, policy makers aren’t living up to the second part of the bargain.

    The report, from the MassINC think tank, shows that even as the state’s average daily prison population declined by 12 percent over the last five years, corrections spending soared by 18 percent. Read More

  • Report: Massachusetts spending more on corrections, despite declining prison population

    The MassINC think tank, in a new report, criticized state government for increasing spending on corrections even as the inmate population has declined.

    The report found that most of the spending has been on hiring staff and raising salaries, not on programming to benefit inmates and reduce recidivism.

    The MassINC report also highlights disparate spending levels between counties.

    “(Spending has) gone up considerably when the population is going down at a time of very tight state budgets,” said Ben Forman, research director at MassINC. “The question we ask is are those additional dollars going to provide better services to reduce recidivism…. The data suggest they hadn’t, which is troubling.”

    MassINC is pushing for reforms to the state’s correctional system that focus on increasing programs and services for inmates and implementing less harsh sentencing and incarceration practices. It plans to release the research at a summit on criminal justice reform on Monday.

    Read more…

  • SJC Chief Gants And U.S. Rep. Clark Say End Mandatory Minimum Sentences

    As the Trump administration revives a tough-on-crime strategy, Beacon Hill continues its debate on rethinking how best to treat those convicted of crimes. That debate has put the spotlight on the usually subdued leader of the judicial branch, Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph Gants.

    Gants renewed his call for the end of mandatory minimum sentences Monday, saying the cost of incarcerating so many members of society is untenable for the Commonwealth.

    “Mandatory minimum sentencing is a failed experiment that must end. And it must end for all crimes, except the crimes of murder and repeated OUI offenses, not just for drug crimes,” Gants said at a criminal justice summit hosted by MassINC.

    Read more…

Coming up

Why support massinc?

  • We enjoy what we do.

    Whether it’s planning events, conducting research, or analyzing the news, our team works on projects that we’re passionate about.
  • We develop leaders.

    Former MassINC employees have gone on to work at reputable organizations like Harvard University, Boston University, City Year, EnerNOC, and Governor Baker’s office.  
  • We stick with it.

    Our work on transformative development, which uses public and private funding for projects to revitalize an entire downtown or urban neighbor­hood, began as Policy Center research report in 2013. A year later, the state legislature passed a bill funding transformative development projects across Massachusetts.
  • We are nonpartisan.

    Our Board of Directors includes prominent Massachusetts Democrats and Republicans. We are interested people’s ideas, not which side of the aisle they sit on.
  • We have a complete toolbox.

    We aren’t just a think tank. We bring nonpartisan research, civic engagement, journalism, and independent polling together under one roof.
  • We have state-wide reach.

    We know that Beacon Hill isn’t the only place to make progress. We’re on the ground in cities across the state working with local leaders.
  • We have unique networks.

    We use our connections to bring together a cross-section of diverse leaders to solve problems. Our networks include mayors, economic development directors, superintendents, business people, newspaper editors, arts leaders, and regional transit officials.  

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  • MassINC is a key partner to the Boston Foundation, and all of us who are seeking to advance the regional conversation around economic opportunity and a strong quality of life for all.  MassINC's robust, nonpartisan research is exactly what our citizens and leaders need to make good decisions.

    Paul Grogan, President of The Boston Foundation

  • I watch my inbox for CommonWealth magazine’s Daily Download. I can count on the newsletter to tell me succinctly what’s happening in politics and public policy. The magazine itself always delivers in-depth news, analysis and commentary. It's simply outstanding, quality journalism. I am happy to support unbiased reporting through my participation in Citizens Circle.

    Helen Chin Schlichte
    Former Public Administrator; President Emeritus, South Cove Manor at Quincy Point

  • MassINC's long-term dedication to Gateway Cities makes them a valuable resource to all of our communities. They are a true thought partner. They go the distance to help others appreciate our unique opportunities, needs, and perspectives.

    Tim McGourthy Executive Director of the Worcester Regional Research Bureau

  • MassINC serves as a credible, thoughtful resource for all of us who are invested in the future of the Commonwealth. Its emphasis on careful analysis that is grounded in data, research, and polling makes an important contribution to and helps elevate the conversation about the challenges and opportunities facing the region.

    Trevor Pollack, Manager of Special Projects for the Barr Foundation

  • The potential of Massachusetts’ Gateway Cities is limitless. MassINC’s dedicated work in promoting these cities has been, and will continue to be, instrumental in their individual and collective success.

    Jay Ash
    Massachusetts Secretary of Housing and Economic Development and former chair of the Gateway Cities Innovation Institute

  • MassINC has always provided research showing the detrimental impact of the state’s unforgiving criminal justice system on our communities. Their polling confirmed that the public understood the need for change in our system. That criminal justice reform is at the forefront of bipartisan local and national debates today is in no small measure due to MassINC’s persistent and fair commitment to the issue.

    Juliette Kayyem Faculty Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, Founder Kayyem Solutions LLC

  • Through my partnership with MassINC, the Building On What Works Coalition is working to unite a diverse collection of civic leaders around an urgent call to encourage the state to act on the progress that has been made ensuring all children in Massachusetts have a true chance to succeed in the state’s economy. MassINC’s research and commitment to data driven public policy are helping to give the children of Massachusetts a better education.

    Kim Driscoll Mayor of Salem

  • MassINC's work with the Gateway Cities is unmatched. As Eastern Bank strives to help businesses in these communities thrive, MassINC has been a tremendous partner, providing data-driven research and affirming that these cities are full of opportunities.

    Bob Rivers Eastern Bank President and COO

  • When MassINC speaks, it’s well worth listening. After all, the nonpartisan think tank has established itself as a thoughtful, careful, credible voice on public policy in Massachusetts.

    Scot Lehigh Boston Globe Op-Ed Columnist

  • Few organizations in the country have better understood the important role of governance reform and accountability in education policy and economic development than MassINC.

    Bruce Katz Vice President and Founding Director of the Metropolitan Policy Program at The Brookings Institution

  • [MassINC's] understanding of the complexity of the challenges facing the state’s older cities, its belief in the opportunities that present themselves in those communities, and its advocacy of the role that public higher education can and should play in them, has added to the understanding that policy makers need to have as they move our state toward the future.

    Jean MacCormack

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