By the CSG Justice Center Staff
In an effort to curb corrections spending, reduce recidivism, and improve public safety, Massachusetts state leaders announced the formation of a 25-member bipartisan working group that will partner with The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center to review the state’s criminal justice system.
A steering committee—consisting of Governor Charlie Baker, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, Senate President Stan Rosenberg, House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo, and Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph Gants—will provide guidance, oversight, and strategic direction in the development of policy options for the working group throughout the review process.
“This group of distinguished individuals with backgrounds in criminal justice and law enforcement will serve the Commonwealth well in our endeavor with The Council of State Governments to further reform and improve the judicial process, and reduce recidivism and incarceration rates,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Massachusetts’s strengths in these areas and wealth of ideas and experienced individuals will ensure we continue to lead on criminal justice reform, public safety, and reentry programming, while maintaining one of the lowest incarceration rates in the nation.”
“The expertise and experience of the members of the justice reinvestment working group will provide valuable insight and knowledge to The Council on State Governments as they review the Massachusetts criminal justice system,” said Senate President Stan Rosenberg. “We can be both tough on crime and smart on crime.”
“By using a data-driven analysis, with the input of the appointees, we will ensure that our policies help reduce recidivism and incarceration rates, are cost-effective, and are structured in a way that best serves the citizens of the Commonwealth,” said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo.
“I welcome The Council of State Government’s independent review of the data that will inform our collaborative efforts to reduce the rate of recidivism, promote individualized sentencing, and diminish over-incarceration,” said Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph Gants.
In August, steering committee leaders requested technical assistance from the CSG Justice Center in using a data-driven approach to continue to improve criminal justice outcomes in Massachusetts. The steering committee also expressed a desire to work with the Justice Reinvestment Initiative to build on the state’s overall decline in incarceration rates over the last decade and further reduce recidivism rates, prison populations, and taxpayer costs while enhancing public safety.
Working group members—including executive, legislative, judicial, and law enforcement representatives—will also work with the CSG Justice Center throughout the project on their findings.
The full list of the working group members is listed here.
The CSG Justice Center has helped 21 states apply the Justice Reinvestment approach, in partnership with The Pew Charitable Trusts and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance. Justice reinvestment is a data-driven approach to improve public safety, reduce corrections and related criminal justice spending, and reinvest savings in strategies that can decrease crime and reduce recidivism.