Despite steeply declining violent crime rates, the prison population and spending on incarceration are increasing at an alarming rate, according to a report released today by MassINCand Community Resources for Justice and covered in today’s Boston Globe.
Attendees of our conference yesterday actually got a sneak peek of the next day’s news: CRJ Executive Director John Larivee previewed the report at yesterday’s Progressive Mass Policy Conference, citing common sense reforms like alternative sentencing, drug courts, and increased re-entry support, and that have shown results in other states. (see John’s presentation, here)
Panelists also included Cassandra Bensahih from EPOCA, who gave a first-hand perspective on the vicious cycle of criminal justice in MA (see photo); and Jake Sullivan, Boston Mayor Menino’s Liaison for Mayors Against Illegal Guns, who explained how two major bills before the US Senate — universal background checks and an assault weapons ban — represent an historic opportunity for gun control. Today, Mayors from around Massachusetts joined Mayor Menino in demanding a plan.
The message was clear: Let’s stop warehousing people and building prisons, and instead invest in our future.