Criminal Justice Reform in Massachusetts

A Five-Year Progress Assessment

January 24, 2024

Criminal Justice Reform in Massachusetts, written in partnership by Boston Indicators and MassINC, is the first systematic look at the impact of two landmark criminal justice reform laws passed in 2018. While the COVID-19 pandemic and data quality issues complicate the analysis, this new report finds strong suggestive evidence that these laws led to significant reductions in incarceration without undermining public safety. However, the study also points to various ways in which the work is incomplete. Racial disparities remain large and continue to grow wider in some areas. The state is still building behavioral health treatment capacity. And new investments in crime prevention and community economic development have not been sufficient to eliminate pockets of violence that continue to harm many urban communities.

By Ben Forman and Elise Rapoza, MassINC, and Peter Ciurczak and Luc Schuster, Boston Indicators

Read a press release offering an overview of key findings and recommendations made in the report.