Criminal Justice

Activists interrupt criminal justice meeting

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(...)

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Ortiz stepping down early

Ortiz stepping down early

Controversial US Attorney resigning before Trump takes over

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE U.S. ATTORNEY Carmen Ortiz, the first woman and first Hispanic to serve as the top federal prosecutor in the district of Massachusetts, will leave her post in three weeks, clearing the way for President-elect Donald Trump to name a new U.S. attorney. Ortiz, in a press release on Wednesday, announced that(...)

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O’Brien conviction overturned; DeLeo cleared

O’Brien conviction overturned; DeLeo cleared

Ruling says prosecutors were off-base in bringing federal charges in probation scandal

A US APPEALS COURT overturned the convictions of former state probation commissioner John O’Brien and two top aides, saying prosecutors failed to prove key elements of their case and should not have been allowed to apply federal criminal statutes to violations of Massachusetts laws. “We can conclude that O’Brien, along with the other defendants and(...)

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Bishops press Beacon Hill for criminal justice reform   

Bishops press Beacon Hill for criminal justice reform  

Catholic leaders urge end to mandatory minimum drug sentences, other changes

THE STATE’S FOUR Catholic bishops are adding their voices to those calling for the Legislature to take up a comprehensive criminal justice reform bill when lawmakers reconvene for a new session next month. In a letter sent last week to state leaders, the bishops urged adoption of “comprehensive thoughtful reforms” that can “reduce recidivism and(...)

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Activists fear criminal justice reform will be limited to probation, parole

Activists fear criminal justice reform will be limited to probation, parole

Worried legislation from Beacon Hill leaders will not address all aspects of the system.

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE ENDING MANDATORY MINIMUM SENTENCES FOR drug offenses will be a top priority next year for criminal justice reform advocates, who said they are worried legislation from Beacon Hill leaders will not address all aspects of the system. The Jobs Not Jails coalition rallied Tuesday at a Bowdoin Street church, where SEIU Local(...)

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Probation fees hit poor the hardest, says report

Probation fees hit poor the hardest, says report

Court charges seen as barrier to offenders getting on track

MONTHLY FEES CHARGED to those on probation in Massachusetts disproportionately hit poorer communities, a costly obstacle to rehabilitation for those least able to afford it, according to a new study. About 67,000 people are on probation in the state and are charged a monthly fee of $50 or $65 depending on the level of court(...)

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Mapping incarceration in Boston

Mapping incarceration in Boston

Study finds minority neighborhoods burdened by high jail rates

LARGE SWATHS OF mostly minority Boston neighborhoods are so heavily affected by the criminal justice system that nearly every street has a resident who has spent time in jail, a concentration of incarceration that is costing millions of dollars and threatening the social fabric of neighborhoods already struggling with high rates of poverty and other(...)

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State tracks pot plants with helicopters

State tracks pot plants with helicopters

Recent seizures raise questions about program’s legality

MASSACHUSETTS DECRIMINALIZED MARIJUANA in 2008, legalized medical marijuana in 2012, and is about to vote on legalizing recreational marijuana, but that hasn’t stopped the State Police and the National Guard from launching helicopter-led raids on homeowners growing pot in their backyards. What makes the raids unusual is that they are conducted without warrants and rarely(...)

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Gants launches study of racial disparities in incarceration

Gants launches study of racial disparities in incarceration

Chief justice also "encouraged" by progress on wider criminal justice policy review

THE STATE MUST confront racial disparities in imprisonment rates and move to “reimagine” a flawed criminal justice system to focus less on incarceration and more on lowering recidivism, Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph Gants said on Thursday. Delivering his third annual address on the state of the judiciary since becoming the Commonwealth’s top judge,(...)

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Crime and punishment

Crime and punishment

What’s the right thing to do with an 18-year-old caught with a gun?

Photographs by Mark Ostow DIANE MCMANUS SAYS her youngest child, Timothy, is “no street kid.” He was “raised in the church,” she says, a respectful son who minded the rules she set down, even as a teenager growing up in a rough patch of Dorchester off Blue Hill Avenue. But while Diane McManus was out(...)

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