Criminal Justice Reform in Massachusetts

A Five-Year Progress Assessment

Published Date : January 24, 2024

Produced in partnership with Boston Indicators, this report is the first systematic look at the impact of two landmark criminal justice reform laws passed in 2018.

While the COVID-19 pandemic and data quality issues complicate the analysis, the report presents strong suggestive evidence that these laws led to significant reductions in incarceration without undermining public safety. However, the data also point to various ways in which the work is incomplete. Racial disparities remain large and continue to grow wider in some areas. The state is still building behavioral health treatment capacity. And new investments in crime prevention and community economic development have not been sufficient to eliminate pockets of violence that continue to harm many urban communities. The report concludes with recommendations for how Massachusetts can build on success to counter these stubborn challenges.

Meet The Authors

Ben Forman

Research Director, MassINC

Elise Rapoza

Senior Research Associate, MassINC

Peter Ciurczak

Research Analyst, Boston Indicators

Luc Schuster

Executive Director, Boston Indicators

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