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.

RELATED UPDATES

The Boston Globe

“It’s a huge historical turning point for our state when you set it in the context of the last several decades,” said Senator Sonia Chang-Díaz, a Jamaica Plain Democrat and longtime proponent of many of the changes in the package.

Mass. Legislature sends Baker sweeping criminal justice bill

By Joshua Miller | Apr 04, 2018

Boston Herald

Lawmakers struck a deal on a long-stalled landmark police reform bill that would institute a certification system for officers.

Massachusetts lawmakers strike deal on landmark police reform bill

By Erin Tiernan | Dec 01, 2020

WBUR

State Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz co-sponsored an amendment to the Senate budget that would require the DOC to routinely test prisoners throughout the pandemic.

Lawmakers Push DOC To Reduce Prisoners, Increase Testing Amid Pandemic

By Deborah Becker | Nov 20, 2020

MassLive

While law enforcement officials say the bills are too extreme, civil rights advocates argue the bills don’t go far enough.

Interest groups make final push to sway Massachusetts lawmakers negotiating police reform bill

By Steph Solis | Aug 03, 2020

CommonWealth Magazine

Springfield Democrat Rep. Carlos Gonzalez, who chairs the Black and Latino Legislative Caucus, will be joined by Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz of Jamaica Plain, who is the sole member of the caucus in the Senate.

6 lawmakers named to conference committee on police reform

By Sarah Betancourt | Jul 27, 2020

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