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

Fighting for a More Just and Equitable Commonwealth

The MassCJRC Journal

June 2017 will be remembered as an important milestone for criminal justice reform in Massachusetts. After numerous commissions, taskforces, research reports, and independent analyses, legislators are looking at a bevy of seriously substantive criminal justice reform proposals. Those engaged in the long fight for comprehensive criminal justice reform should pause for a moment to reflect

Community Benefit Districts on the table for FY18

New designation would promote collaboration in downtowns, Main Streets

Representative Brendan Crighton and Senator Eileen Donoghue have filed an outside section of the FY18 Budget, currently in Conference Committee, that would create Community Benefit Districts (CBDs) as an alternative to Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) for communities across the Commonwealth. CBDs are designed to support downtowns, cultural districts, historic areas, and Main Streets that require

Criminal justice reform bill: Four questions for the Legislature

Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly

This article was originally published in Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly Volume 46, Issue No. 25 on June 19th, 2017. By  Max D. SternPartner, Todd & Weld LLP, Co-Chair, The Massachusetts Criminal Justice Reform Coalition and Michael B. Keating, Partner, Foley Hoag LLP Why are repeat offenders responsible for three-quarters of all new convictions in Massachusetts? Because when

Locally accountable for education-led renewal

The Gateway Cities Journal

The fate of our Gateway Cities lies in their schools. From growing a skilled workforce to maintaining healthy neighborhoods, public education will be the deciding factor. Significant progress has been made, but a lot more needs to happen to put these school systems in a stronger position to drive economic growth and renewal. Some of

Steve Koczela offers testimony to Massachusetts Legislature’s Joint Committee on the Judiciary

On the results of polls and focus groups conducted by MPG

My name is Steve Koczela, and I am the president of The MassINC Polling Group. I am here today to testify on the results of polls and focus groups we have conducted on criminal justice reform, spanning 2014 to April and May of this year. The polls and focus groups were sponsored by our parent

Ben Forman offers testimony to Massachusetts Legislature’s Joint Committee on the Judiciary

In support of “An Act Implementing the Joint Recommendations of the Massachusetts Criminal Justice Review”

TESTIMONY REGARDING H. 74 “AN ACT IMPLEMENTING THE JOINT RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE MASSACHUSETTS CRIMINAL JUSTICE REVIEW” PROVIDED TO THE JOINT COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY JUNE 19, 2017 Benjamin Forman MassINC Thank you Chairwoman Cronin, Chairman Brownsberger, and members of the committee for the opportunity to provide testimony on An Act Implementing the Joint Recommendations of

Joint Committee on the Judiciary to hold second hearing

Several bills on criminal justice reform will be heard

Monday, June 19 at 1:00pm, the Joint Committee on the Judiciary will again hold a hearing at which dozens of bills concerning criminal justice reform will be heard. Earlier this year, Governor Baker filed a bill, An Act Implementing the Joint Recommendations of the Massachusetts Criminal Justice Review (H.74). This bill primarily addresses “back-end” reforms, or reforms

Fact-checking the district attorneys

MassINC researchers review mandatory minimum claims

AT MONDAY’S JUDICIARY COMMITTEE HEARING on criminal justice reform legislation, District Attorneys Joseph Early of Worcester County, Timothy Cruz of Plymouth County, and Michael Morrissey of Norfolk County testified in opposition to the elimination of mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes. Their testimony drew heavily on talking points prepared by the Massachusetts District Attorney’s Association

Ben Forman testifies before Massachusetts Legislature’s Joint Committee on the Judiciary

In support of “An Act For Justice Reinvestment”

Testimony Regarding H.2308/S.791  “An Act For Justice Reinvestment” Provided to the Joint Committee on The Judiciary  June 5, 2017 Benjamin Forman MassINC Thank you Chairman Brownsberger and Chairwoman Cronin for this opportunity to provide testimony in support of An Act for Justice Reinvestment on behalf of MassINC and the Massachusetts Criminal Justice Reform Coalition. There

Joint Committee on the Judiciary to hold hearing

Several bills on criminal justice reform will be heard

Monday, June 5 at 1:00pm, the Joint Committee on the Judiciary will hold a hearing at which several bills concerning criminal justice reform will be heard. Among them, An Act for justice reinvestment (S.791, H.2308), filed by Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz of Boston and Representative Mary Keefe of Worcester, offers comprehensive reform efforts as well as

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…

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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