Criminal Justice

Solution to domestic violence homicide: Fewer guns or more guns?

Solution to domestic violence homicide: Fewer guns or more guns?

Starkly different approaches proposed in bills

SINCE 2012, THERE have been 82 domestic violence homicides in Massachusetts, many involving the use of a gun. What’s to be done about these tragedies? The Legislature’s Judiciary Committee heard testimony on Tuesday on two bills with starkly opposing solutions to the problem, both solutions involving access to guns. One bill would create a new kind(...)

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ACLU campaign to spotlight crucial role of DAs

ACLU campaign to spotlight crucial role of DAs

Poll shows many voters don’t believe criminal justice system is working fairly

THE AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION of Massachusetts says it plans to mount a campaign this fall urging voters to hold the state’s elected district attorneys accountable for the way the criminal justice system works. The impetus for the campaign grew out of a poll released Wednesday indicating that nearly half of Massachusetts voters believe the(...)

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Senate retreat to hear from criminal justice experts

Senate retreat to hear from criminal justice experts

Speakers will address ‘key facts and issues’

LEADERS OF THE SENATE, including President Stan Rosenberg and William Brownsberger, the Senate chairman of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary, have made clear their support for a range of criminal justice reforms that go beyond those in legislation that resulted from a recent review of state policy focused on recidivism. On Wednesday, senators will(...)

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The high toll of inmate phone calls

The high toll of inmate phone calls

Advocates say charges keep prisoners isolated, undermine criminal justice reforms

IT’S EASY TO take ordinary conveniences like making a telephone call for granted. Advances in technology have made communication cheaper and higher quality than ever before. But one group has been excluded from enjoying the benefits of the falling cost of this modern amenity: inmates. For years, inmates and their families across the nation have(...)

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Let’s rehabilitate moms, not lock them up

Let’s rehabilitate moms, not lock them up

Incarceration-based drug policies make no sense

TWENTY-FIVE YEARS AGO, I met Sylvia, a smart, talented mother with dreams – like most moms – for her family, despite experiencing homelessness. Formerly in prison for a non-violent drug offense and caught in the cross hairs of the growing mass incarceration movement, she held on to her aspirations despite numerous roadblocks, pursuing work, housing,(...)

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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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