FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
February 21, 2014
CONTACT: Peter Van Delft
Suffolk County Sheriff Steven W. Tompkins recently served as a panelist for a discussion on “Reform, Re–entry and Results: Change and Progress in the Massachusetts Criminal Justice System” at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. The event, which also featured remarks from Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, was sponsored by MassINC, the Massachusetts Criminal Justice Reform Coalition and the Mass Bar Association.
Steve Koczela, President of The MassINC Polling Group, gave a presentation illustrating the change in public opinion with respect to criminal justice reform in Massachusetts, which led to the panel discussion about both the data and Governor Patrick’s remarks.
The panel, which was moderated by President of MassINC and Publisher of CommonWealth Magazine Greg Torres, also included Kevin Burke from the Massachusetts Criminal Justice Reform Coalition, the CEO of Community Resources for Justice John Larivee, Middlesex County District Attorney Marian T. Ryan, Partner at Stern Shapiro Weissberg & Garin LLP and the Co–Chair of the Massachusetts Criminal Justice Reform Coalition Max Stern, the Director of the Boston Reentry Initiative at the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department True–See Allah, and former Suffolk County Sheriff and current Massachusetts Secretary of Public Safety and Security, Andrea Cabral.
As a panelist, Sheriff Tompkins spoke enthusiastically in support of the initiatives presented by Governor Patrick that will bolster some of the needed services and programming for inmates and detainees, and those returning to the community.
“Today is like the Fourth of July, Christmas and New Year’s Day all wrapped up into one,” said Sheriff Tompkins. “I’d like to thank the Governor for his commitment to sustainable criminal justice reforms that address inmates’ re–entry into the communities throughout the Commonwealth. The Governor’s initiatives with respect to increased opportunities for ex–offenders to attain and hold onto employment, housing and healthcare is spot–on and long overdue. On the one hand, we’re talking about enhancing public safety, and on the other we’re talking about implementing measures to stem the tide of recidivism by embracing corrections versus warehousing our citizens.”
Mr. Allah of the Department’s BRI program concurred.
“I think what’s been laid out today is the answer to a lot of prayers in the corrections and the rehabilitative community. I, on behalf of Sheriff Tompkins, have the privilege of overseeing the Boston Reentry Initiative at the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department. What’s good about BRI it is that there is a cohesive relationship between a lot of law enforcement partnerships and community–based organizations such as the Boston Police Department, the Sheriff’s Department, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the District Attorney’s Office, parole, and probation. I think the challenge is creating a similarly cohesive cadre of supporters on the job development side, the housing side and the employment side, that work like a well–oiled machine.”