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.

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Articles from CJRC

Finding Common Ground

Recapping the Fourth Annual Criminal Justice Reform Coalition Policy Summit

Finding Common Ground The Fourth Annual Criminal Justice Reform Coalition Policy Summit brought together over 300 leaders on Monday morning at the Omni Parker House in Boston. The program, entitled Finding Common Ground, featured a two-part conversation on reform and reinvestment, presentations of new polling (slides) and research, and remarks from a diverse group of thought leaders. Representative Katherine

City Councilor highlights reentry initiative

OTO’s collaboration, coordination of reentry services has proven success

Boston City Councilor Andrea Campbell held a hearing to review the Overcoming the Odds program (OTO), a reentry initiative from Community Resources for Justice. The goal of this initiative is to better engage individuals with existing programs and services and overcome barriers to success that individuals too often face following reentry. The program relies on

Uncovering the economic growth/criminal justice reform link

Forum on criminal records

MassINC, the Massachusetts Bar Association, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston co-hosted a forum on criminal records policy last week at the John Adams Courthouse. The forum featured new research by the bank examining the impact of criminal records and criminal records reform legislation on employment. Bob Triest, a labor market economist who leads

Profiles in Courage

The MassCJRC Journal

Last month, Governor Baker introduced much anticipated legislation to address recommendations made by the Council of State Governments (CSG) on backend criminal justice reform. In public remarks given on the same day the CSG legislative package was unveiled, Chief Justice Gants called this work a “first down, not a touchdown.” Calling attention to the State

The National Day of Empathy

Event Recap

On March 1, MassINC joined with the national bipartisan initiative #cut50 along with organizations across the country for a single day of action to highlight the strength of the bipartisan criminal justice reform movement. The Day of Empathy united groups from Boston to Oakland in solidarity, as a way to generate compassion and understanding on

State leaders unveil bill aimed at cutting recidivism

Officials divided on further changes, Gants urges repeal of most mandatory minimums

STATE LEADERS UNVEILED long-awaited legislation Tuesday aimed at reducing recidivism rates in the criminal justice system. But whether the bill tackles the most pressing issue facing the system or simply marks a good first step in what should be a more sweeping reform process depends on which leader is speaking. That divide is likely to

Senators outline broad criminal justice reform agenda

Lawmakers look to broaden scope beyond pending report

SAYING THE TIME is right for the state to take a look at sweeping criminal justice reforms, a group of Democratic state senators is urging the Legislature to take up bills addressing everything from mandatory minimum drug sentences to fines and fees that lawmakers say are unfairly leading some people to spend time behind bars

MassINC Year In Review

Looking back at our work in 2016

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year! 2016 has been an incredible year for the MassINC family which includes our Policy Center, CommonWealth magazine and the MassINC Polling Group. Please take a moment to look through the highlights of substantive research, civic events, and journalism from 2016 and consider making a year-end donation that will help us

Activists interrupt criminal justice meeting

Advocates worried reform bill won’t address sentencing issues

CHANTING “JOBS NOT JAIL,” advocates for criminal justice reform briefly disrupted the final meeting of a state criminal justice policy commission today, part of a growing chorus of voices expressing concern that state leaders are preparing to put forward legislation that won’t include major changes to sentencing laws. The protest came as advocates and lawmakers

Press coverage

  • 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…

  • Mass. Spending On Incarceration Is Up 18 Percent, Though The Inmate Population Is Down 12 Percent

    The report comes from the nonpartisan think tank MassINC, which advocates for criminal justice reform measures.

    Its authors write that, over the five years, spending “associated with recidivism reduction did not increase significantly, and these services continue to represent a small fraction of total correctional expenditure.”

    “The savings if we’d held the spending growth to inflation would have been $72 million,” co-author Michael Widmer, former president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, told WBUR’s Newscast Unit. “That $72 million could be used dearly elsewhere, including on programs to reduce recidivism.”

    The report follows a survey, from the MassINC Polling Group, that found most Massachusetts voters are concerned about the effects of incarceration. Fifty-three percent of poll respondents said they think that when inmates get out of prison, they are “more likely to commit new crime because they’ve been hardened by their prison experience.”

    Read more…

Criminal justice reform

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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

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    Trevor PollackManager of Special Projects for the Barr Foundation

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    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

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    Kim Driscoll Mayor of Salem

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

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