The Policy Center builds diverse partnerships to produce rigorous research that frames issues and offers actionable strategies.

We strive to be a vigorous participant in civic debates, hosting and presenting at events, serving on advisory councils, testifying before legislative committees, and providing a sounding board for journalists. Occasionally, we take a leadership role with long-term initiatives like the Gateway Cities Innovation Institute and the Criminal Justice Reform Coalition.

Resources

Gateway City Leaders

Lauren Louison Grogan named President and CEO of MassINC

Leadership transitions mark a new beginning for the Institute

Dear Friend of MassINC, We have big news! Lauren Louison Grogan has been named the next President of the Massachusetts Institute for a New Commonwealth (MassINC), the publisher of CommonWealth magazine, and a member of The MassINC Polling Group Board of Directors. Ann-Ellen Hornidge, Chair of the MassINC Board of Directors, and outgoing President Greg Torres announced the appointment this

Finding Better Ways to Allocate Limited Public Safety Resources

The MassCJRC Journal

Massachusetts’s criminal justice reform legislation is arguably the most wide-ranging and comprehensive in the country, at least as far as progress in a single legislative session goes. However, unlike most states that have pursued comprehensive reform, our legislation was largely crafted without independent technical assistance from the Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI). One of the key

Delivering on the Promise of Criminal Justice Reform

Highlights from the Fifth Annual Massachusetts Criminal Justice Reform Coalition Policy Summit

In true MassINC fashion, the Massachusetts Criminal Justice Reform Coalition’s Fifth Annual Policy Summit was one part celebration—recognizing the accomplishments of so many to advance comprehensive reform legislation—and nine parts substantive dialogue, as we regroup for implementation. For those who were unable to attend, the panel conversation featured the Honorable Paula Carey, Representative Byron Rushing,

New MassINC study finds the number of inmates in state and county correctional facilities keeps falling, but correctional budgets are still going up in Massachusetts

New research from the nonpartisan think MassINC shows correctional budgets are still rising even as the number of individuals in state and county correctional facilities falls precipitously. These revealing new figures come as leaders on Beacon Hill look for ways to help agencies cover the costs they will incur in order to comply with legislation

New MassINC Research Sizes Up the Untapped Potential of Gateway City Rail

Exploring the Future of Transit-Oriented Development

Leaders from across the state gathered at the UMass Club last week for the unveiling of a major new report estimating the long-term potential of transit-oriented development (TOD) in Gateway Cities. The culmination of a year of methodical work by a MassINC-led research team, this new study provides a detailed look at how many potential additional jobs and

Study reveals large untapped development potential around urban commuter rail stations

Spurring Transit-Oriented Development

A major new study from the nonpartisan think-tank MassINC finds that vacant and underutilized land surrounding 13 Gateway City commuter rail stations could house up to 230,000 residents and 230,000 jobs-double the number of people living and working in these station areas today. Decades of disinvestment have made it difficult for private real estate markets

Reflecting Back on the Criminal Justice Data Revolution

The MassCJRC Journal

Reflecting Back on the Criminal Justice Data Revolution A footnote to the story will be that Florida received far more attention at the time for passing a very similar measure that same month, but it was Massachusetts that put its brains to work and created the model, going from a state where district attorneys had

Generating more geographically-balanced growth

Connecting Gateway Cities with Boston’s Job Cluster

Gateway Cities like Brockton, Lynn, and Worcester can play an important function generating more geographically-balanced growth throughout Massachusetts. These communities all have strong transit connections to Boston, which positions them to tap the hub’s valuable assets, including its major research institutions, sophisticated service providers, skilled-workforce, and global connections. As regional centers, the economic activity they

Patriots make a big play on criminal justice reform

The MassCJRC Journal

While the final score of Super Bowl LII left us with heartbreak, the team made one play last week that may give us an even more significant victory. In a Boston Globe op-ed that ran Sunday morning, team leadership took a clear stance on criminal justice reform, writing: “We strongly support the proposal being considered by the Massachusetts

Press coverage

  • Editorial: Alternative needed for elderly, sick Mass. inmates

    Ben Forman, research director at the think tank MassINC, says there is also a question of priorities. Letting the perpetrator of a violent crime free a few months early can feel like a violation of social responsibilities to the victims. “But,” he says, “we also have a responsibility to future victims.”

    His argument: There are limited resources in the corrections system, and we should be pouring them into services for younger and potentially more dangerous inmates — making them less likely to re-offend, and victimize new people, when they get out of prison.

    Read More…

  • State should empower regions to re-invest in themselves with regional ballot initiatives

    Ultimately, Regional Ballot Initiatives would save money by helping regional planning agencies, city and town governments, and construction contractors budget and plan for local projects ahead of time, instead of waiting on state or federal funds to decide their fate.

    The initiatives could also encourage growth in our downtowns: a recently released report by MassINC’s Gateway City Innovation Institute identified Regional Ballot Initiatives as a key way to promote transit-oriented economic development in our state’s mid-sized cities.

    When voters are given a choice over raising new revenues, and know exactly where their money will be going, they will fund projects that their communities need.

    Read More…

  • Tarr: Teamwork needed to tame budget cost drivers

    As another effort to generate savings, Spilka said the budget would create a commission to study the costs of prisons and jails and recommend appropriate funding levels for the Department of Correction and sheriffs’ departments. A report released Monday by MassINC found that the number of inmates in state and county correctional facilities dropped 21 percent over the past eight years while correctional budgets increased by nearly 25 percent.

    Read More…

  • Over 8 Years, Mass. Spending On Incarceration Is Up 25 Percent Despite Inmate Numbers Dropping 21 Percent

    Massachusetts prisons and jails hold 5,000 fewer people than they did eight years ago, but spending on those facilities has continued to rise nonetheless.

    That’s according to a research brief out Monday from the think tank MassINC, which advocates for criminal justice reform measures. The findings are an update to the group’s report last year that found correctional spending in the state had increased $181 million over five years, despite fewer inmates.

    Monday’s new figures, MassINC said, mean the trend has continued, and “in fact, the divergence between spending and population is accelerating slightly.”

    Read More

  • Prison spending up as inmate population drops

    “If more dollars were going to provide job training and other services that reduce the likelihood individuals will re-offend when they get out, that would be one thing,” said Ben Forman, MassINC’s research director. “But the money is going to hiring more correctional officers and increasing staff pay.”

    Read More…

MassINC Policy Center

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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.  

Explore research reports

Massinc Videos

@MassINC

  • 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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