Policing and Criminal Justice Reform

 

As an ardent advocate for policing and 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 advocates and my colleagues in the legislature to enact systemic changes at every stage of the justice system, from biased policing to pretrial detention, and from sentencing and incarceration to reentry supports -- and to include prevention in the first place.

 

As a co-chair of the Senate’s Racial Justice Working Group, I was one of the architects of the Reform, Shift + Build Act, legislation that will strengthen accountability and de-escalation in law enforcement and shift funding and oversight power to communities. The bill passed the Senate in July of 2020; you can read more about it here.

 

In 2010, I helped secure passage the of the Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) system reform to reduce recidivism rates, ensure taxpayer dollars are spent more wisely, and make access to criminal records fairer and more effective. In 2018, I was proud to help win sweeping criminal justice reform legislation, which, among other reforms, decriminalized a number of minor offenses and expanded opportunities for alternatives to incarceration, overhauled the bail system, reduced solitary confinement, improved the system of sealing and expunging records, reduced fines and fees imposed on defendants, and kept children under age 12 out of the juvenile justice system. 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.

 

More recently, I’ve served as the lead sponsor of the Justice Reinvestment Act, which would calculate the savings from sentencing reforms and reinvest those funds into community education and workforce development programs. A version of this legislation was included as part of the Reform, Shift + Built package that passed the Senate in 2020.

RELATED UPDATES

Bill enacts reforms to raise police accountability standards, shift resources to communities and build equity, justice and fairness

Jul 14, 2020

Senator Sonia Chang-Díaz speaks after the second day of delaying debate on the Senate's Reform, Shift + Build Act

Jul 10, 2020

Bill enacts reforms to ban aggressive police tactics, significantly raise standards for accountability in law enforcement and reprioritize public safety resources

Jul 06, 2020

Coalition unveils 10-point plan for policing reform and accountability.

Jun 02, 2020

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Copyright © 2019 by

Office of State Senator Sonia Chang-Díaz

MA State House, Rm 111

24 Beacon St, Boston, MA 02133

(617) 722-1673 | sonia.chang-diaz@masenate.gov