Criminal Justice Reform

Criminal Justice Reform

Criminal justice reform likely in Mass., but how far will it go?

Most everyone agrees that this is the year to overhaul the state’s criminal justice system. But sharp divisions remain over how far the changes should go.

Publish Date: 
Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Senate goes big on criminal justice bill

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.

Publish Date: 
Friday, November 10, 2017

Brownsberger’s big tent

If politics is a game of addition, put Sen. Will Brownsberger down in the plus column. The lead sponsor of a sweeping criminal justice reform bill convened a marathon rally on behalf of the legislation at the State House that started on Thursday morning and ended in the afternoon.

Publish Date: 
Thursday, October 12, 2017

Judges need discretion — and defendants need fairness — in sentencing

While I appreciate the important work that District Attorney Michael O’Keefe and his office do to prosecute criminals on the Cape and Islands (“Mandatory minimums play a role in criminal justice system,” Letters, Dec. 29), I must interject a dose of reality into the conversation about mandatory-minimum sentencing in the Commonwealth.

Publish Date: 
Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Senators push criminal justice reform

State senators Thursday called for bold criminal justice reform on issues ranging from repealing mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug crimes, to restricting the use of solitary confinement, to offering more services for offenders suffering from drug addiction.

Publish Date: 
Friday, February 17, 2017

Legislators call for broader criminal justice reform

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.

Publish Date: 
Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Senate president supports criminal justice reforms

It’s been a long haul.

Last December, activists briefly disrupted a meeting of legislative leaders in protest of a criminal justice reform push they said wouldn’t go far enough to ameliorate racial disparities in sentencing and reduce the number of non-violent offenders serving hard time.

Publish Date: 
Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Advocates: Mass. unlawfully isolates mentally ill inmates

One inmate, diagnosed with bipolar disorder, became so distraught after months in the prison’s isolation unit that he began talking to himself and counting compulsively.

Another, who suffers from schizoaffective disorder, declined so much in isolation that he smeared himself with feces.

A third, with a lengthy history of bipolar disorder, wrote a desperate letter from the segregation unit at MCI-Cedar Junction in Walpole:

“I’m feeling paranoid and isolated, claustrophobic. . . . I feel like I’m being tortured, which basically I am.”

Publish Date: 
Saturday, December 31, 2016
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