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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

House Passes Comprehensive Criminal Justice Reform Legislation

House Passes Comprehensive Criminal Justice Reform Legislation


(BOSTON) – The Massachusetts House of Representatives today passed comprehensive criminal justice reform legislation that will lead to a more equitable system by supporting our youngest and most vulnerable residents, reducing recidivism, increasing judicial discretion, and enhancing public safety.

“This landmark legislation will make our criminal justice system significantly more equitable while enhancing public safety through a series of workable, real-world solutions,” said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo.  “I am proud of the unprecedented reforms we’ve made to support our youngest and most vulnerable residents, particularly children facing adversity and individuals of all ages battling addiction. I am grateful for the dedication and insight of Chairwoman Cronin, and I thank Chairman Sanchez, Leader Mariano and Chief Justice Ireland for their guidance.”

“The reforms made in this bill address all aspects of the criminal justice system from a person’s first contact with the criminal justice system, up until an individual leaves the system and re-enters society,” said Representative Claire Cronin, Chair of the House Committee on the Judiciary. “We have updated and improved our laws, made the system more equitable, and are giving people opportunities to rebuild their lives, while also ensuring public safety. This comprehensive and workable bill will have a meaningful impact on the criminal justice system.”

“Growing up in Boston, many of my childhood friends felt the impacts of an unjust criminal justice system,” said Representative Jeffrey Sánchez, Chair of the House Committee on Ways & Means. “These bills focus on treating people as individuals, rather than the product of broad-based policies. Through a number of practical and progressive reforms, the House has taken steps to improve the criminal justice system, so people can make the most of opportunities and end the cycle of incarceration.”  

Our objective with this legislation is to reduce recidivism by removing the many obstacles facing justice-involved individuals after they have served their time,” said Majority Leader Ronald Mariano. “Individuals in our communities deserve a chance to effectively transition back into productive members of society, and this bill eliminates roadblocks toward achieving that goal.  We believe these changes will be instrumental in encouraging folks that mistakes of their past will not serve as a life sentence.”

“This is a reform plan for the real world,” said Chief Justice Roderick L. Ireland, Distinguished Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Northeastern University. “This bill provides judges with enhanced discretion and allows people to reclaim their lives after their debt to society is paid. I commend Speaker DeLeo and the Massachusetts House for their meaningful work on a very complex issue.”

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