Avoiding prison possible more often in Mass.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, and I’m sorry for that. My work at Northeastern has been quite busy, and I have some exciting projects to be revealed soon.

I am heartened to see this recent news in The Boston Globe about sentencing alternatives for low level federal drug violators. The RISE program, which stands for Repair, Invest, Succeed, Emerge, is available to people who are pre-sentence and who meet certain qualifications, according to the article.

“I think what we’re trying to do here is help those individuals who have committed crimes because of the fact that they did have a substance abuse problem, or lack life skills, education, the support, the structure in life to choose the right path,” said US Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz.

If a defendant is successful, she said, her office could recommend a lighter sentence, probation, or another, more extended diversion program that could keep a defendant out of prison. In only rare instances, she indicated, would her office recommend a charge be dismissed.

And more perspective:

In past years, judges have ordered defendants to participate in some type of rehabilitation program once they have completed their prison sentence, or as part of their probation. But the more recent push has been to encourage defendants to seek treatment immediately, with the incentive that they could avoid prison, or have their sentence reduced. One hope is that defendants will be more committed.

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