The Massachusetts Legislature will soon vote on Governor Patricks crime bill, which contains provisions for much needed reform of the laws and procedures that govern criminal offender record information (CORI.)
The Boston Foundation and Crime & Justice Institute Report on costs of Corrections in Massachusetts cited in the December 3rd Boston Globe is properly focused on reducing costs and recidivism while maintaining public safety. However, the Report, which relies on Massachusetts Department of Correction data, does not accurately describe Sheriffs actual workload, budget history or custody population.
In a fearweary nation where we daily face one dire prediction after another, I am loathe to use extremes to describe any problem. Unfortunately, truancy and dropout rates in Boston merit use of the dreaded descriptor: crisis.
As Sheriff of Suffolk County, I am responsible for staffing the largest Sheriffs Department in the Commonwealth. With an average attrition rate of 15 employees per month and consecutive decreases in fiscal appropriations for the last three years, we are consistently challenged to maintain adequate staffing levels.