Criminal Justice Reform
As an ardent advocate for criminal justice reform, I believe it’s imperative to address both the moral and fiscal costs of our current system and the toll that decades of shortsighted policies have taken on our communities. I’ve been working with my colleagues in the legislature to enact systemic changes at every stage of the justice system, from arrests to pretrial detention, and from sentencing and incarceration to reentry supports—and to include prevention in the first place.
I was proud to work for Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) system reform in 2010, to reduce recidivism rates, ensure taxpayer dollars are spent more wisely, and make access to criminal records fairer and more effective.
In recent years, a major part of my work in this area has been as the lead sponsor of The Justice Reinvestment Act, which would eliminate mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes, raise the felony threshold in larceny cases, create a medical parole mechanism in the Commonwealth, and reinvest the savings from these sentencing reforms into community education and workforce development programs. I also pushed successfully to end automatic driver’s license suspensions and exorbitant fines in drug cases, allowing offenders who have served their time to get back to work and resume care for themselves and their families.