A Year of Massachusetts Criminal Justice

By Jean Trounstine

The good, the bad, and the very very ugly. These are some things that stood out for me in 2013, and with them, I wish you all a Happy New Year.

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1. Wonderful news for every prisoner who managed to get out of prison, stay out, stay clean, promote a worthy cause, get a job, heal/end negative relationships, and/or make a healthy start: bravo.

2. Thankfully Massachusetts has finally improved on a federal law. We struck down life without parole for juveniles: The ruling goes farther than the Supreme Court decision in 2012 that struck down automatic sentences of life without parole for juveniles per The Boston Globe.

3. Massachusetts raised the age of juveniles — finally — from 17 to 18. As of July, 2013, 37 other states had already raised the age so juveniles would not be tried as adults. But in Massachusetts, a child of 14 who kills can stil be tried as an adult. (What say you, progressives?)

4. Annie Dookhan went to jail for her part in the state drug lab scandal but how many assistant district attorneys did not? And why is there still such silence about this? Apparently, the moola — $8.5 million already spent to deal with this and Legislature setting aside an additional $8.6 mil — and putting innocent people behind bars and releasing people who may or may not be ready is all gonna fall on her shoulders.

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