In positive news filtering out of Boston, it was found that the Massachusetts Department of Corrections is taking proactive steps to reduce its correctional spending by seeking help from national agencies to address growing recidivism rates and to reduce its inmate population.
The Governor along with the Chief Justice of the state’s Apex Court wrote to the Pew Center and the US Department of Justice asking for their technical expertise to review the criminal justice system of Massachusetts. The authorities are forging ahead with clear motives. While it is important for the state to reduce its correctional spending, the move is also meant to learn how the correctional system can help in the reintegration of inmates back into the community along with ensuring public safety.
Massachusetts has the highest GDP of all states in the country, and despite its small size, it is one of the most densely populated areas of the country. Add to this the fact that the government has not been able to curb the recidivism rate which stands at a massive 40-50%. This means that if concrete measures are not taken to enhance the impact of correctional interventions, the law and order situation can quickly spiral out of control.
Charlie Baker, Governor of Massachusetts told reporters that he was interested in learning about the measures that are being taken in other states to counter the growing prison population and recidivism rates and how successful these have been.
Authorities are hoping that Massachusetts will be made a part of the Justice Reinvestment Program which has been surprisingly successful in 21 other states. If the state is allowed to participate in the national level program, a bipartisan task force will be created, which will include officials from various branches of the state government.
This task force will work with the Justice Center to analyze correctional data and propose solutions and changes that can be undertaken to lower recidivism rates and the number of inmates currently serving time in state penitentiaries. Although Massachusetts has one of the lowest incarceration rates in the country, this would still bring about a massive improvement because currently nearly half the prisoners who are released return into the correctional system within 3 years.