May 9, 2008
By Leonard Engel
This report is a ‘call to action’ for Massachusetts state leaders to implement a systemic approach to offender reentry, one that involves traditional as well as non-traditional agencies and collaborates with community leaders and service providers. A collaborative approach is necessary to overcome the inherent limitations of changing criminal justice policy.
Our examination explores the need for reentry reform and the existing opportunity for change created by corrections costs, public opinion and research. This report examines the current state of corrections in Massachusetts as well as the numerous and thoughtful findings and recommendations that have been made in recent years.
For Massachusetts, the combination of rising corrections budgets, in the face of a budget crisis, high recidivism rates and the fact that our corrections and parole agencies have begun to make significant progress in preparing offenders to return to the community should make systemic reentry reform a priority. With strong leadership and the collaboration of diverse agencies and community leaders Massachusetts is poised to improve community safety and use resources in a smart and sustainable way.
Click here to read the full report.
Listen to the whole forum:
- Forum Introduction — John Larivee, CEO of Community Resources for Justice
- Discussion Introduction — Marilyn Chase, Assistant Secretary of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, and Mary Elizabeth Heffernan, Undersecretary of the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security
- Reentry presentation — Len Engel, Criminal Justice Policy & Project Coordinator of the Crime & Justice Institute
- National Reentry Perspective — Dale Parent, Former Director of NIC’s Transition from Prison to Community Initiative, and Mark Stringer, Director of Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse, Missouri Department of Mental Health
- Executive Perspective — Maureen Walsh, Chairperson, Board of Parole; Harold Clarke, Commissioner, Department of Correction; Michael Botticelli, Director, Bureau of Substance Abuse Services, Department of Public Health; and Michael Ashe, Sheriff, Hampden County
- Legislative perspective — Senator Robert Creedon and Representative Eugene O’Flaherty, Co-Chairmen of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary, Massachusetts Legislature
- Question and Answer Session
- Oral Comments
- Closing remarks — Tom Coury, Executive Director of the Gardiner Howland Shaw Foundation, and Kevin Burke, Secretary of the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts