Introducing the latest publication from MassINC and the Gateway Cities Innovation Institute
close X

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

A year of opportunity and impact

A Recap of 2017

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year! 2017 was a year of opportunity and impact for the MassINC family, which includes our Policy Center, CommonWealth magazine and the MassINC Polling Group. Please take a moment to look through our top highlights of the year and consider making a year-end donation that will help us continue our efforts to improve the quality of life in

Giving thanks to a pragmatic and hardworking legislature

On what a collection of leaders in Massachusetts was able to accomplish this fall

Leaders in both the House and Senate deserve praise for passing comprehensive criminal justice reform bills this fall. The legislature’s accomplishments are a positive departure from how criminal justice policymaking has unfolded in the past; for far too long, Massachusetts made criminal justice law by anecdote, often in response to a single sensational crime. As documented in a series of

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

Press coverage

  • MCGEE: Lynn Deserves Great Transportation

    Once an industrial force in the state’s economy, the city of Lynn has become a prime example of how an economy can languish when transportation infrastructure is lacking.

    Yet, Lynn isn’t alone. As a Gateway City, it is a part of a bigger story of urban centers that are a key piece of the Commonwealth’s economic puzzle, but face debilitating social and economic issues due largely in part to a lack of transportation options. A MassINC and Brookings Institute report revealed that “incomplete transportation networks represent the most visible shortcoming in the Gateway Cities’ infrastructure connectivity.”

    Read more…

  • 8 innovative things ‘Gateway Cities’ in Massachusetts are doing to bounce back from the Great Recession

    Activating waterfront property that once drew mill workers along the Merrimack River. Turning an historic Worcester park into an art gallery. A “pop-up restaurant” to help advance the careers of food entrepreneurs in Fitchburg.

    Those were some of the initiatives underway across the Bay State, meant to serve as catalyst in their respective “Gateway Cities” as they recover from the Great Recession.

    Massachusetts has 26 so-called “Gateway Cities,” urban regions that have traditionally provided economic pathways to residents and immigrants, according to the Gateway Cities Innovation Institute, which is under nonprofit think tank MassINC. While Boston is the likely front-runner, 9 Gateway Cities submitted bids for Amazon’s second headquarters.

    “Cities are now factories for ideas,” and it’s ideas and creativity that are drawing in businesses like Google and Apple, according to Mark Davy, a consultant and the founder of Futurecity, who spoke at a MassINC celebration of Gateway Cities.

    The initiatives in Pittsfield, Lawrence and elsewhere were honored Wednesday at the Gateway Cities Innovation Awards and Summit, held inside a brick mill building overlooking the Merrimack in Lawrence.

    Read more…

  • Criminal justice reform: Business as usual is not an option

    Among the highlights of the bill championed by Hinds and sponsored by Sen. Will Brownsberger, D-Belmont, Senate chair of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary, are repealing “ineffective mandatory minimum sentences for low level drug offenders,” reducing and eliminating overburdensome fees and fines, reforming the bail system, allowing for compassionate release for infirmed inmates, and reforms to the juvenile justice system, Hinds said.Hinds pointed to a what he called a “profound study” by MassINC, an independent think tank whose director of research, Ben Forman, presented at the conference later in the day. The study examined incarceration rates and their geographical distribution in the city of Boston.

    Read more…

  • Black, Latino communities seek voice in criminal justice reform

    One report from the MassINC think tank found that cash bail tends to be set higher for black defendants than for white defendants.

    Read more…

  • 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…

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.  
  • 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

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Our sponsors