Working Group named for Review of Criminal Justice System

Senator Brownsberger has been named to a 25-member Working Group to partner with the Council of State Government’s (CSG) Justice Center on criminal justice reform and justice reinvestment. We share Governor Baker’s press release on the formation of the group called the Working Group of the Council of State Government’s Massachusetts Criminal Law Review.

October 28, 2015

Elizabeth Guyton


State Leaders Announce Working Group for Review

of Criminal Justice System

BOSTON – State leaders today serving as the Steering Committee for an independent review of Massachusetts criminal justice system, formally announced a 25-member bipartisan Working Group to partner with the Council of State Government’s (CSG) Justice Center to explore opportunities for policy consensus and reform.

The multi-branch task force’s Steering Committee, consisting of Governor Charlie Baker, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, Senate President Stan Rosenberg, House Speaker Robert Deleo and Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph Gants, will provide guidance, oversight and strategic direction in the development of policy options throughout the review process.

“This group of distinguished individuals with backgrounds in criminal justice and law enforcement will serve the Commonwealth well in our endeavor with the Council of State Governments to further reform and improve the judicial process, and reduce recidivism and incarceration rates,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Massachusetts strengths in these areas and wealth of ideas and experienced individuals, will ensure we continue to lead on criminal justice reform, public safety and reentry programming, while maintaining one of the lowest incarceration  rates in the nation.”

“The expertise and experience of the members of the justice reinvestment working group will provide valuable insight and knowledge to the Council on State Governments as they review the Massachusetts criminal justice system,” said Senate President Stan Rosenberg (D-Amherst).  “Through collaboration between the working group and CSG, we will identify policies for Massachusetts to make smart reforms to reduce recidivism rates, lower costs, and invest in re-entry programs.  We can be both tough on crime and smart on crime.”

“The working group represents diverse perspectives who will bring meaningful experience and insight to this process,” said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo. “By using a data-driven analysis, with the input of the appointees, we will ensure that our policies help reduce recidivism and incarceration rates, are cost-effective and are structured in a way that best serves the citizens of the Commonwealth.”

“I welcome the Council of State Government’s independent review of the data that will inform our collaborative efforts to reduce the rate of recidivism, promote individualized sentencing, and diminish over-incarceration,” said Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants. “Trial Court Chief Justice Paula Carey, Probation Commissioner Ed Dolan, Superior Court Chief Justice Judith Fabricant, District Court Chief Justice Paul Dawley and Boston Municipal Court Judge John McDonald will work with our partners from other branches and agencies of government and CSG on a data-driven approach to criminal justice reform.”

In an August letter to the Council of State Governments Justice Center, these leaders requested technical assistance from the Justice Reinvestment Initiative to “use a data-driven approach to continue to improve criminal justice outcomes,” while noting their desire to work with the Initiative to build on Massachusetts overall decline in incarceration dates over the last decade in order to further reduce recidivism rates, prison populations and taxpayer costs while enhancing public safety.

The Working Group members, consisting of Executive, Legislative and Judicial co-chairs, and executive, legislative, judicial, law enforcement, parole and probation and legal services representatives, will work directly with the Justice Center throughout the project on their findings.

Massachusetts Criminal Justice Review — Steering Committee

Governor Charlie Baker 

Lt. Governor Karyn Polito 

Senate President Stan Rosenberg

House Speaker Robert Deleo 

Chief Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court Ralph Gants

Working Group – Leadership and Members

Lon Povich, Governor’s Chief Legal Counsel

Executive Co-Chair

State Senator William Brownsberger

Legislative Co-Chair 

State Representative John Fernandes

Legislative Co-Chair

 Trial Court Chief Justice Paula Carey

Judiciary Co-Chair

Anthony Benedetti, Committee for Public Counsel Services Chief Counsel

 Daniel Bennett, Secretary of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS) 

Frank Cousins, Essex County Sheriff 

Cynthia Creem, State Senator 

Paul Dawley, District Court Chief Justice

 Ed Dolan, Probation Commissioner 

Judith Fabricant, Superior Court Chief Justice

James Hicks, Natick Chief of Police

Randy Hunt, State Representative

Peter Koutoujian, Middlesex County Sheriff

Christopher Markey, State Representative

John McDonald, East Boston Municipal Court First Justice 

Joseph McDonald, Plymouth County Sheriff 

Carol Mici, Assistant Deputy Commissioner of Classification, Programs and Reentry

 Michael O’Keefe, Cape and Islands District Attorney

 Colin Owyang, Deputy Attorney General

Debra Pinals, Associate Commissioner of Forensic Mental Health Services

 Jennifer Queally, Undersecretary for Law Enforcement (EOPSS)

 Daniel Racine, Fall River Chief of Police

Paul Treseler, Chairman of the Parole Board

Leslie Walker, Prisoners’ Legal Services Executive Director

The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center has helped 21 states apply the Justice Reinvestment approach, in partnership with The Pew Charitable Trusts and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance. Justice Reinvestment is an analysis-based process of identifying wasteful spending and ways to reduce incarceration rates, while applying those savings towards reducing recidivism and enhancing public safety.

# # #