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…

Pre-trial alternatives: A path to ease incarceration cycle?

I attended a Massachusetts Caucus of Women Legislators meeting about justice involved women last Wednesday at the State House in Boston. Erika Kates, senior research scientist at Wellesley Centers for Women, and Meghann Perry, a formerly incarcerated woman, were the two main speakers pushing alternatives for criminally-justice involved women. Kates focused her talk on pre-trial alternatives for women.…

NYTimes on locking up fewer people

This New York Times op-ed makes a compelling case for shorter sentences and community-based alternatives. The highlights: We could cut sentences for violent crimes by half in most instances without significantly undermining deterrence or increasing the threat of repeat offending. Studies have found that longer sentences do not have appreciably greater deterrent effects; many serious…

When mom goes to jail

I’ve often pondered: What happens when mom goes to jail or prison? Are there alternatives a nonviolent woman can take instead of serving time behind bars? Is that fair? What would make such an arrangement fair if a crime has been committed? What’s appropriate punishment? There are undoubtedly many questions on this topic—and the good…

Treatment for prostitutes instead of jail in Worcester, Mass.

Worcester Magazine had a report out earlier this week about a prostitution sting in Worcester, Mass. on May 11. But instead of arresting the people, they were offered treatment at medical or mental health facilities. The program was sponsored by the Worcester Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation. Meanwhile, six men and two women were still charged. One…

The New Yorker’s “Milwaukee Experiment”

This New Yorker piece talking about alternatives to incarceration is not to be missed. It’s an in-depth investigation of what Milwaukee is doing to give people options other than prison or jail. The general vibe is that there is a knowledge out there that sentencing tactics must change. In fact, the article says, “By 2014,  federal prosecutors were…