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Justice Reinvestment in Massachusetts: Policy Framework

NCJ Number
Date Published
February 2017
28 pages
After documenting the high rate of recidivism among persons who have served sentences under the Massachusetts Department of Correction (DOC), this report outlines the policies developed by key stakeholders to create a more cost-effective criminal justice system.
People with prior convictions composed three-fourths of those receiving sentences in 2013 in Massachusetts. In 2011 two-thirds of those released from correctional facilities and just over half of those who had completed DOC community-based supervision were rearraigned within 3 years of their release from DOC jurisdiction. In an effort to address this cycle of recidivism, in January 2016, the State launched a data-driven effort to reinvest its resources in evidence-based policies and practices shown by reliable research to have been effective in reducing recidivism among those who had served sentences under the DOC. Four policies that emerged from this effort are explained in this report. First, improve the alignment of probation and parole supervision and services with practices proven by research to reduce recidivism. Second, improve access to treatment for offenders who have severe behavioral health needs and have been assessed at high risk for reoffending. Third, improve the efficiency of the parole release process. Fourth, reduce the DOC incarcerated population and increase the number of people who receive post-release supervision. 2 figures and 84 notes

Date Published: February 1, 2017