The Massachusetts Criminal Justice Reform Coalition is a diverse cross-section of leaders who find common ground in the urgent need for comprehensive corrections reform.

The Coalition supports law enforcement, county sheriffs, the judiciary, agency officials, and legislative leaders working to advance comprehensive change across the criminal justice system. MassINC provides staffing and organizational support for the Coalition.

Resources

Articles from CJRC

What is Justice Reinvestment without the “reinvestment”?

The MassCJRC Journal

The comprehensive criminal justice reform legislation up for debate this week in the Senate is a noteworthy achievement in every respect but one–its failure to take on the delicate subject of reinvestment. Criminal justice reform is largely about offering alternatives to incarceration and providing evidence-based programs to reduce recidivism for those returning from incarceration. These activities

Inequality, criminal justice reform are linked

Incarceration approach is hollowing out the middle class

FOR ALL THE TALK about inequality these days, it’s rare to see policy proposals that could actually make a difference. Politicians of all persuasions rail against the disappearing middle class, and then do very little to find common ground on viable solutions to the problem. The criminal justice reform legislation introduced in the Senate last week is an

Gateway City leadership on criminal justice reform

The Gateway Cities Journal

Watching Gateway City leaders over the years, I’ve come to admire their work ethic. Whether it’s putting together complex redevelopment projects, fighting for school improvement, or closing holes in municipal budgets, they have a penchant for stepping up and solving difficult problems. As our latest research report shows, corrections reform is yet another issue calling

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

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

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

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

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

Press coverage

  • Is this the year Massachusetts will eliminate mandatory minimum sentences?

    Advocates for repeal say they are seeing more momentum and more political openness to the idea than ever before. But making changes will not be easy, with opposition from many of the state’s prosecutors. Democratic state senators have been leading the charge to end some mandatory minimums, but Democratic House leaders have been more reticent. Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican, has been noncommittal.

    “We’re starting to see a shift in political opinion that reflects public opinion,” said Ben Forman, research director of MassINC, a think tank that supports criminal justice reform.

    Read more…

  • Editorial: Cost of tough-on-crime policies do not add up

    Budgets, we’re told by politicians and policy-makers, reflect the priorities and values of the community.

    Want children educated? Fund education. Safe streets? Fund public safety. And so on.

    But lost in the discussion over our priorities and values is a question central to the efficacy of our government: Is money being spent in a way that achieves the desired results?

    It is in this light that we take note of a new study, “The Geography of Incarceration in a Gateway City,” prepared by MassINC and the Massachusetts Criminal Justice Reform Coalition.

    Read more…

  • Report: High incarceration rates raise crime in Worcester neighborhoods

    WORCESTER – The idea that too many people are given prison sentences instead of treatment for addictions or mental ailments is nothing new.

    But a new study released recently by an independent Boston think tank urging criminal justice reform uses Worcester’s neighborhoods to support that theory, mapping in detail where offenders live and suggesting that crime in some areas might actually be driven by high rates of imprisonment.

    “You would think that locking people up who are creating disorder is always beneficial, but if you’re putting a lot of people away for nonviolent offenses, it reduces the stigma attached to going to prison and makes it less of a deterrent,” Ben Forman, research director at MassINC, said in announcing the results of the Sept. 25 report.

    Titled “The Geography of Incarceration in a Gateway City,” the 18-page report confirms what many would suspect: The bulk of people placed behind bars live in rougher neighborhoods. But by presenting the data alongside other neighborhood measures – voting records and school discipline, chiefly – it suggests that poor neighborhoods may be caught in a cycle of crime driven, as opposed to relieved by, incarceration of law-breakers.

    Read more…

  • Ben Forman: Incarceration overuse can undermine state’s Gateway Cities

    BOSTON — Fear often trumps levelheaded reasoning when it comes to criminal justice policy in Massachusetts. With audience-hungry news broadcasts constantly fanning the flames, counterproductive laws have accumulated like weeds on a long neglected lot. This has repercussions for everyone, but the pain is especially sharp in Gateway Cities. If these communities are going to provide solid pathways to the American dream in a challenging economy, we must confront this reality.

    A new report from the nonpartisan think-tank MassINC demonstrates the extent to which the overuse of incarceration hurts Gateway Cities by mapping the Worcester County Sheriff’s intake data: On some Worcester streets, admissions to correctional facilities come from home after home; a downtown Worcester neighborhood lost one out of every 10 young men to incarceration between 2009 and 2015; within the span of a single year, another neighborhood saw 350 admissions to the county’s correctional facilities.

    Read more…

  • Prison pipeline can drain whole city

    This week, however, we were reminded by a MassInc report on the city that economic development must be intractably linked to social development, or the former will be harder to maintain.

    According to the report, “The Geography of Incarceration in a Gateway City,” high rates of incarceration can have a chilling impact on community and economic development in cities like Worcester.

    In addition to creating a climate for increased crime, high incarceration rates can lead to low school performance, behavioral problems among children, and long-term political and civil disengagement, the report noted.

    Meanwhile, communities with high incarceration rates generally nurture high levels of poverty, unemployment and racial segregation, according to the report.

    Read more…

Criminal justice reform

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.  
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    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.
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    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.
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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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