Criminal justice reform

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(...)

Read More »

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(...)

Read More »

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(...)

Read More »

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(...)

Read More »

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(...)

Read More »

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(...)

Read More »

Mass. voters strongly back criminal justice reform

Mass. voters strongly back criminal justice reform

Residents favor preventive measures over incarceration, says new poll

MASSACHUSETTS RESIDENTS STRONGLY support reform of the state’s criminal justice system, including elimination of mandatory minimum sentences and a greater emphasis on rehabilitation and education programs than incarceration, according to a new poll. Two-thirds of residents said prevention programs for youth and job training and education for inmates should be higher priorities in addressing crime(...)

Read More »

Legislators call for broader criminal justice reform

Legislators call for broader criminal justice reform

State needs to seize the opportunity for change, say lawmakers

LAWMAKERS GATHERED OUTSIDE the House chamber Tuesday to declare their commitment to wide-ranging criminal justice reforms, further evidence of a push on Beacon Hill for changes that go beyond a consensus bill rolled out by Gov. Charlie Baker in February. “We are all here united today because we believe that this session is an opportunity(...)

Read More »

Gants v Conley: Time for a real debate?

The Boston Globe delivered an editorial spanking to Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley over the weekend for questioning the political activity of Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph Gants. Gants has been leading the charge for doing away with mandatory minimum sentencing in most cases, an issue that the Globe editorial page is also(...)

Read More »

Sentencing commission backs repeal of mandatory minimums

Sentencing commission backs repeal of mandatory minimums

Votes add to push for more sweeping criminal justice reform

IN ANOTHER SIGN of support for broad criminal justice reform, the Massachusetts Sentencing Commission voted to recommend abolition of mandatory minimum sentences for all crimes except murder. The move comes as state leaders are split on the best way to revamp criminal justice policies. At a Jan. 18 meeting of the sentencing commission, members voted(...)

Read More »