Dear BBA Colleagues:
WE NEED YOUR HELP. For more than 20 years the BBA has sponsored and encouraged thoughtful study of our criminal justice system, while Massachusetts has continued to incarcerate an ever-increasing percentage of its population without considering the effectiveness of mandatory minimum sentences, the post-incarceration needs of ex-offenders, and community safety.
Late last year, the Massachusetts Senate passed a combination of Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) and sentencing reform legislation, including provisions for post-release supervision. We are hopeful that the Massachusetts House will take favorable action on both aspects of this legislation because CORI reform alone is not enough. A comprehensive bill would accomplish cost-effective changes in our criminal justice system, enhance public safety, and facilitate offender re-entry and employment. This will also preserve scarce judicial and correctional resources for the most serious offenders.
The Commonwealth is now experiencing the most severe fiscal crisis in decades. We urge the Legislature to take this opportunity to enact responsible sentencing and CORI reform. Simply put, every offender who makes a successful return to the community as a result of these measures will be one less financial burden to the taxpayers of this state.
Please contact your state representative and urge passage of a comprehensive bill that makes meaningful changes to both our CORI and sentencing laws. You can look up your local legislator here.
Thank you for your consideration.
John J. Regan
President, Boston Bar Association