Criminal Justice

District attorneys abuse mandatory minimum drug sentences

District attorneys abuse mandatory minimum drug sentences

Boston school zone case underscores problem with laws

AS LAST MONTH’S MassINC poll reports, two-thirds of Massachusetts residents believe that drug use should be treated as a health problem rather than as a crime. And only 8 percent of Massachusetts residents agree with Attorney General Jeff Sessions that mandatory minimum sentencing is a wise criminal justice policy. But our drug laws haven’t changed(...)

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Fact-checking the district attorneys

Fact-checking the district attorneys

MassINC researchers review mandatory minimum claims

AT MONDAY’S JUDICIARY COMMITTEE HEARING on criminal justice reform legislation, District Attorneys Joseph Early of Worcester County, Timothy Cruz of Plymouth County, and Michael Morrissey of Norfolk County testified in opposition to the elimination of mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes. Their testimony drew heavily on talking points prepared by the Massachusetts District Attorneys Association(...)

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Criminal justice reform at the State House

Criminal justice reform at the State House

Advocates make their case to lawmakers

STATE HOUSE NEWS FOR MONTHS, CRIMINAL justice advocates have said this legislative session is the time for Beacon Hill to tackle sweeping reforms aimed at reducing recidivism and incarceration rates, and Monday afternoon gave them the opportunity to make their case straight to lawmakers. The Judiciary Committee packed 96 bills dealing with criminal procedure onto(...)

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Mandatory minimum drug sentences costly mistake

Mandatory minimum drug sentences costly mistake

DA talking points obscure real issues

SUPPORTERS OF MANDATORY minimum sentences for drug crimes are circulating a set of disconnected talking points on Beacon Hill that obscure the real issues. The debate is heating up as the Legislature prepares to hold hearings this month on bills that would eliminate Massachusetts laws requiring judges to impose a prison term of a specified(...)

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Feds crack down on Lawrence drug network

Feds crack down on Lawrence drug network

34 arrested, and at least 10 were in the country illegally

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE THIRTY PEOPLE WERE ARRESTED Tuesday on gun, drug, and immigration charges in a sweep that brought down a Lawrence-based network that Acting US Attorney William Weinreb described as “one of the largest fentanyl trafficking organizations ever seen in Massachusetts.” Approximately 250 law enforcement officers were involved in the sweep, seizing several(...)

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How to stop prison’s revolving door

How to stop prison’s revolving door

Worcester County reentry program shows promising results to reduce recidivism, save money

A NEW REPORT from MassINC points to a major challenge for Massachusetts state government. Spending on corrections continues to increase significantly even as the inmate population declines. At the same time, the cycle of reincarceration remains untenably high. In 2011, Massachusetts Department of Correction (DOC) facilities reported that 44 percent of individuals released from prison(...)

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Victims have stake in criminal justice debate

Victims have stake in criminal justice debate

Hearing will provide comment opportunity for crime survivors

CRIME VICTIMS are the only participants in the criminal justice system who did not, by their own action or choice, put themselves there.  At the same time, they are often the most impacted and endangered participants in the system.  The Massachusetts Victim Rights Law ensures that victims have access to their rights and information throughout(...)

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Few answers on corrections spending  

Few answers on corrections spending  

Baker, sheriffs offer muted explanations for findings  

GOV. CHARLIE BAKER and the state’s sheriffs offered no clear explanation this week for why corrections funding is going up as inmate populations are declining. The puzzling spending pattern was detailed in a study released on Monday by MassINC, the nonpartisan public policy research organization that publishes CommonWealth. The report found that spending on corrections, especially in the county systems overseen by the state’s 14 elected(...)

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Report: Inmate levels down but spending keeps rising

Report: Inmate levels down but spending keeps rising

At sheriff facilities, it’s one guard for every two prisoners

THE NUMBER OF INMATES in the state’s prisons and jails is going down, but the cost of operating those facilities is going up, largely because correctional institutions are adding more employees and paying their existing workers more, according to a study by MassINC. The study found that the average daily inmate population of state and(...)

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Boston reentry initiative hits the skids

Boston reentry initiative hits the skids

Award-winning program to aid those leaving prison loses federal funding

BOSTON’S WIDELY ACCLAIMED prisoner reentry program, which is aimed at reducing recidivism by helping offenders who are released from prison with everything from employment and housing to addiction services, was quietly shut down last fall when a federal grant funding the efforts wasn’t renewed. The shutdown, which was never announced, is a big setback to(...)

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