Major justice reform bill clears Legislature

Signals shift in focus from punishment toward rehabilitation and substance use treatment

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE WITH ONLY A WHIFF of opposition, the Massachusetts Legislature on Wednesday passed a broad package of criminal justice system reforms that have languished for years, signaling a likely shift in focus away from punishment and toward rehabilitation and substance use treatment in an effort to reduce recidivism. The legislation (S 2371), which

Reflecting Back on the Criminal Justice Data Revolution

The MassCJRC Journal

Reflecting Back on the Criminal Justice Data Revolution A footnote to the story will be that Florida received far more attention at the time for passing a very similar measure that same month, but it was Massachusetts that put its brains to work and created the model, going from a state where district attorneys had

Patriots make a big play on criminal justice reform

The MassCJRC Journal

While the final score of Super Bowl LII left us with heartbreak, the team made one play last week that may give us an even more significant victory. In a Boston Globe op-ed that ran Sunday morning, team leadership took a clear stance on criminal justice reform, writing: “We strongly support the proposal being considered by the Massachusetts

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

Senate goes big on criminal justice bill

Sweeping proposal would touch most parts of system

THE SENATE IS poised to consider a wide-ranging criminal justice bill that would reform everything from the bail system to mandatory minimum sentences and fees and penalties that weigh heavily on low-income defendants. The bill aims not only to reduce incarceration rates, but to eliminate various ways people get tripped up by a system that sometimes

House, Senate poised to go separate ways on criminal justice bills

Branches would need to reach agreement afterwards to move reforms forward

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE   THE HOUSE AND SENATE appear poised to go their separate ways on the major issue of criminal justice reform, perhaps meeting in the middle at some point in the future after what one senator predicted will be a “fairly lengthy evolutionary process.” The Judiciary Committee on Thursday opened voting on two

The Geography of Incarceration in a Gateway City

The Cost and Consequences of High Incarceration Rate Neighborhoods in Worcester

In 2016, MassINC and the Boston Indicators Project issued a report detailing the geography of incarceration in Boston. Utilizing new data provided by the Worcester County Sheriff’s Department, this report extends that line of research by examining incarceration in a Gateway City. The analysis explores the cost and consequences of high incarceration rates in Worcester

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