The following is an informational directory of organizations related to criminal justice reform within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Each organization’s name is followed by a small blurb about their purpose and the issues focus, as well as contact information, to help you get connected within the criminal justice reform community.
This is a constantly evolving document, so please send along any suggestions for additions or changes to the directory, at email@example.com.
The Sixth Amendment Center seeks to ensure that no person faces potential time in jail or prison without first having the aid of a lawyer with the time, ability and resources to present an effective defense, as required under the United States Constitution. They do so by measuring public defense systems against established standards of justice. When shortcomings are identified, they help states and counties make their courts fair again in ways that promote public safety and fiscal responsibility.PO Box 15556, Boston, MA 0225
The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) is a Quaker organization that promotes lasting peace with justice, as a practical expression of faith in action. Drawing on continuing spiritual insights and working with people of many backgrounds, they nurture the seeds of change and respect for human life that transform social relations and systems. AFSC’s criminal justice program in Maine and Pennsylvania, part of their northeast regional office, also works to end mass incarceration, improve conditions for people who are in prison, stop prison privatization, and promote a reconciliation and healing approach to criminal justice issues.
Dr. Leverentz is an Associate Professor of Sociology and Director of the Master’s Program in Applied Sociology at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Her areas of expertise include Communities and Crime, Prisoner Reentry, Gender and Crime, Urban and Community Sociology, and Qualitative Research Methods. In 2014, she published a book about the difficulties female former prisoners experience with reentry titled The Ex-Prisoner's Dilemma: How Women Negotiate Competing Narratives of Reentry and Desistance. She has also published multiple journal articles on similar topics. The courses she teaches include Criminology, Corrections, and Issues in Prisoner Reentry.617-287-6265
Black & Pink is an open family of LGBTQ prisoners and “free world” allies who support each other. Their work toward the abolition of the prison industrial complex is rooted in the experience of currently and formerly incarcerated people. They are outraged by the specific violence of the prison industrial complex against LGBTQ people, and respond through advocacy, education, direct service, and organizing.614 Columbia Road, Dorchester, MA 02125
BPCAT has one mission and one goal: to further accountability and safety in the city of Boston through the mandatory use of police body cameras.Bpcat.org
Carlos is a Senior Research Associate for the Institute of Race and Justice/Center for Criminal Justice Policy Research at Northeastern University. While only recently joining the Center for Criminal Justice Policy Research, Carlos has participated and led several research initiatives including his work as research assistant for the Punitiveness Project, a grant funded initiative documenting the exponential nationwide growth in the imprisonment of female offenders by state and over time. In subsequent years, Carlos served as research assistant on other projects including an assessment of reentry programs and practices at the Dedham Correctional Center and a comprehensive recidivism study for inmates released from Middlesex County House of Correction. Carlos dissertation “Understanding Persistent Offending Among Incarcerated Offenders through General Strain Theory” examined the role that the stressors of living in prison might add to the strains otherwise experienced by inmates. Through weekly trips to two correctional facilities for over a year, he surveyed 171 inmates to understand how responses to these additional strains are associated with variations in levels of prison misconduct. Carlos received his Ph.D. from Northeastern University. His graduate education began at the University of Connecticut where he earned his master’s degree in education and before that, his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Westfield State College. His graduate interests at UConn centered on the factors affecting access and quality of higher education for young adults of color. Though his interests today are still tied to race and ethnicity issues but within the criminal justice system, his main research has been on corrections and punishment with a specific focus on prison misconduct, recidivism, and reentry issues including collateral consequences of criminal convictions.617-287-6250
Citizens for Juvenile Justice (CfJJ) advocates for a fair and effective juvenile justice system in Massachusetts, designed to promote the healthy development of children and youth so they can grow up to live as responsible and productive adults in our communities. Citizens for Juvenile Justice (CfJJ) is the only independent, non-profit, statewide organization working exclusively to improve the juvenile justice system in Massachusetts. They advocate, convene, conduct research, and educate the public on important juvenile justice issues. They believe that both children in the system and public safety are best served by a fair and effective system that recognizes the ways children are different from adults and focuses primarily on their rehabilitation.44 School St #400, Boston, MA 02108
The Coalition for Effective Public Safety (CEPS) includes advocates, program providers, parolees, formerly incarcerated men and women, friends and relatives of prisoners, and human rights activists who have joined forces to promote and safeguard the human rights of all people across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. For 2015-6, we are focusing on parole, solitary confinement, and medical release reform.Mailing Address: Meeting Address:
549 Columbus Avenue 10 Winthrop Square
Boston, MA 02118 Boston, MA 02110
The Coalition for Social Justice (CSJ) is dedicated to building a grassroots movement for progressive social change, rooted in low-income communities and communities of color that have been excluded from the economic benefits of the current system. Based on the principles of Unity, Multi-Issue, and Power at the Grassroots, CSJ has the dual focus of recruiting and developing their own leaders from low income backgrounds; and to organize effective campaigns to address the economic survival issues that they face. CSJ brings together welfare recipients, low income workers, seniors and unions to hold elected officials firstname.lastname@example.org
Concord Prison Outreach is a coalition of faith communities and individuals committed to helping people in prison build better lives for themselves and their families. They recruit, train, and support volunteers to go behind the walls and teach skills that will help people succeed when leaving prison. Their weekly BEACON Emotional Literacy classes touch the lives of over 250 incarcerated people per year. They run Nonviolent Communication workshops that help us listen deeply to ourselves and others, and discover the depth of our own compassion. Although Nonviolent Communication runs during the day at MCI Concord, it is a great workshop for volunteers. They organize a holiday gift bag project and deliver gifts of toiletries and stationery to 1700 people housed in the two prisons in Concord, Massachusetts. They also sponsor events in the community to educate the public on issues relating to criminal justice and prisons.
PO Box 383, Concord MA 01742
The Criminal Justice Policy Coalition is a member-based, nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of effective, just, and humane criminal justice policy in Massachusetts. It seeks to accomplish this by expanding the public discourse on criminal justice, promoting dialogue and cooperation among diverse stakeholders, and building support for policies that better protect our communities, promote accountability and change for offenders, and provide restitution to victims.549 Columbus Avenue, Boston, MA 02118
The mission of Dismas is to reconcile former prisoners to society, and society to former prisoners, through the development of a supportive community. Supportive community is characterized by: students and former prisoners living together in a family setting, active involvement of volunteers from the broader community, and a spirit of open and participative decision-making by all in the community, with emphasis on the common good.Street address: 30 Richards Street, Worcester, MA 01603
Mailing address: Post Office Box 30125, Worcester, MA 01603
End Mass Incarceration Together is a statewide working group of the Unitarian Universalist Mass Action Network.
EMIT's motto is Inform to Reform. Once people are informed about the injustice of our judicial and corrections systems, they will inform their state legislators to reform our state laws, through a series of bills over a number of years.
EMIT partners with people to encourage and facilitate face-to-face meetings with state representatives and senators to let them know we are outraged about the over-incarceration of people in America who are more likely to be black, brown, poor, under-educated, mentally ill and have substance abuse problems.
Susan Tordella, email@example.com, telephone 978-772-3930.
Worcester, MA 01610
Dr. Gebo is an Associate Professor as well as the Director of the Graduate Program in Crime & Justice Studies for the Department of Sociology at Suffolk University. She is also a research associate with the Center for Crime and Justice Policy Research. Her research interests include youth violence and youth justice, crime and justice-related comprehensive community initiatives, and policy and evaluation. In 2012, she published a book called Looking Beyond Suppression: Community Responses to Gang Violence. Professor Gebo believes in active scholarly engagement with the wider community. She does so through funded grant work on issues related to youth justice and assistance to communities responding to youth violence. Where possible, students are brought into research projects in order to engage more directly with the topic under study. Her current research examines community interventions for proven risk youth, such as gang members. She also is interested in how institutions, such as schools and community agencies can inhibit or promote delinquent and gang behavior and the policy implications derived from that.617-557-1594
Families for Justice as Healing focuses on raising public awareness about the incarceration of women and the impact on children and communities. Their mission is to reduce the incarceration population of women in the United States by shifting toward community wellness alternatives instead of prisons.P.O. Box 14, Boston, MA 02121
The Harm Reduction & Drug Law Reform Caucus is a coalition of legislators, working to address the root causes and symptoms of mass incarceration through comprehensive policy reform, education and coalition building. The Harm Reduction & Drug Law Reform Legislative Caucus was founded in the fall of 2013 as a way to organize and educate legislators around issues of mass incarceration. The Caucus has since grown to 70+ members, House and Senate, Democrat and Republican. The Caucus was founded and is currently Co-Chaired by Representative Tom Sannicandro & Senator Jamie Eldridge.Office of Representative Tom Sannicandro:
Office of Senator Jamie Eldridge:
The Prison Legal Assistance Project (PLAP) is a volunteer organization at Harvard Law School in which law students represent inmates in Massachusetts prisons. PLAP student attorneys argue at disciplinary hearings on behalf of prisoners charged with violating prison regulations. PLAP students also argue before the Massachusetts Parole Board for prisoners facing parole revocation or rescission and second degree life sentence hearings. In addition, PLAP provides prisoners with referrals to other resources and can send limited legal materials to Massachusetts prisoners including cases and statutes. PLAP cannot provide legal advice.6 Everett Street, Suite 5107, Harvard Law School, Cambridge, MA 02138
Student and General Public Inquiries: 617-495-3969
Prisoners' Hotline: 617-495-3127
Jean Trounstine is an activist, author, and professor at Middlesex Community College in Lowell, Massachusetts who worked at Framingham MCI for ten years where she directed eight plays with prisoners. Her highly-praised book about that work, “Shakespeare Behind Bars: The Power of Drama in a Women’s Prison” has been featured here and abroad, and she co-founded the women’s branch of Changing Lives Through Literature. Her 6th book, “Boy with a Knife: A Story of Murder, Remorse, and the Fight for Justice,” is forthcoming in 2016. She blogs for “Boston Magazine,” Truthout.org, The Rag Blog and at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her @justicewithjean.
Founded in 1928, Massachusetts Citizens Against the Death Penalty (MCADP) is the oldest active anti-death penalty organization in the United States.
The Mental Health Legal Advisors Committee works to enhance and protect the rights of persons with mental health concerns in key areas most closely related to their ability to live full and independent lives free of discrimination. All callers who present with a legal issue related to mental health within broad priorities will receive basic advice and referral information. MHLAC advocates provide informal advocacy or full legal representation to indigent adults and children.
24 School Street, Suite 804, Boston, MA 02108
The New Garden Society is a non-profit organization that provides therapeutic and vocational horticulture training. In all its endeavors, The New Garden Society partners with host agencies to design and implement programming that supports participants’ wellbeing, existing treatment plans and goals for positive behavioral change.
The New Garden Society (TNGS) offers:
Landscape design, installation and maintenance of restorative gardens,
Introduction to Horticulture courses,
Topical workshops in Horticulture Concepts and Practice,
Professional development trainings for affiliated staff, and
Full-season Horticulture Practicums in core skills and competencies for small-scale, sustainable, ornamental and edible gardening in New England.
Organized in 2013, TNGS responded to a voiced need for horticulture instructors in the Massachusetts Department of Corrections. TNGS currently provides year-round programming at two state correctional facilities. The programs feature classroom-based coursework in horticulture as well as experiential education in custom, onsite gardens and greenhouses. This summer (2015) TNGS is launching a pilot program at a Department of Youth Services facility.
31 School Street, Somerville, MA 02143
OWLL brings together female returning citizens, with artists,human service professionals and the public in productions that inspire dialogue and civic engagement about the reentry needs of women and the youth who live in the shadow of incarceration. OWLL provides a skill based activity program which integrates the principles of occupational therapy with performing art strategies to provide purposeful activities that promote both literacy and performance skills. Workshop activities are developmentally designed to achieve outcomes in creativity, critical thinking, communication and collaboration and address the fundamental belief that policy reform begins at the grassroots level.Midway Studios #602
15 Channel Center Street
Boston MA 02210
The Petey Greene Program supplements educational programming in correctional institutions by providing individualized tutoring to incarcerated people. They work to promote academic achievement in prison classrooms to support the future success of people in prison and to build stronger communities. To accomplish these goals, Petey Greene recruits, trains, and coordinates volunteers who serve as tutors in adult basic education, high school equivalency, and college programs in prisons and jails.
In Massachusetts, the Petey Greene Program collaborates with the Boston University’s Prison Education Program to provide academic assistance to students in MCI Norfolk and MCI Framingham. Each semester, Petey Greene coordinates volunteers who serve as TAs for specific college courses, lead weekly study halls, and tutor students who are preparing for college and applying to BU. The Petey Greene Program is also in the process of building tutoring programs to support people in adult basic education and high school equivalency programs in other Massachusetts prisons and jails. For more information on Petey Greene’s work and its programs in other states, please visit their website: peteygreene.org."email@example.com
The Pretrial Working Group, organized in the fall of 2013, is a statewide organization developing and implementing pretrial alternatives to incarceration. In Massachusetts, everyday, more than 5,000 women and men are jailed pretrial, that is, they have been convicted of nothing. The majority are often held for months only because they do not have money for bail.
PWG advocates and organizes for a cost effective criminal justice system that insures the human rights of residents as well as public safety. PWG is working to create alternatives such as pretrial services and community-based wellness alternatives instead of building new jails and prisons. PWG is focused on designing and implementing pretrial services and diversion programs that begin at the initial arrest when tax dollars are more effectively spent and intervention is more effective.
When the gender-specific jail opened in Chicopee, MA in 2008, co-founders Lisa Andrews and Marianne Bullock understood that incarcerated women are not offered the full spectrum of reproductive options, healthcare, and support available to people on the outside given the social, economic, and political oppression that accompanies the carceral system. Thus, they co-founded The Prison Birth Project (PBP) which works within a reproductive justice framework to provide support, advocacy, and leadership training with women and trans* people at the intersection of the criminal justice system and parenthood.PO Box 1253, Northampton, MA 01061
Prison Book Program mails books to people in prison to support their educational, vocational and personal development and to help them avoid returning to prison after their release. They also aim to provide a quality volunteer experience that introduces citizens to issues surrounding the American prison system and the role of education in reforming it.1306 Hancock Street, Suite 100, Quincy, MA 02169
General info: firstname.lastname@example.org
Volunteer info: email@example.com
Book Donations: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Prison Policy Initiative challenges over-criminalization and mass incarceration through research, advocacy, and organizing. They show how the United States’ excessive and unequal use of punishment and institutional control harms individuals and undermines our communities and national well-being.PO Box 127, Northampton, MA 01061
Prisoners’ Legal Services (PLS) promotes the safe, humane and lawful treatment of Massachusetts prisoners through civil rights litigation, administrative advocacy, client counseling, and outreach to policy makers and the public.10 Winthrop Square, Boston, MA 02110
PROJECT: OPERATION CHANGE was created to change the “antiquated policies” of the Massachusetts Parole System and to address the “abusive practices” of Massachusetts Parole Personnel. OPERATION CHANGE was also created to greater educate parolees, their families and friends to dispel the shame, isolation and despair associated with or suffered by individuals on parole or experienced by families and communities of a parolee. OPERATION CHANGE is a goal orientated project that has embarked on a statewide campaign to reform the Massachusetts Parole System in 3 years.467 State Street, Springfield MA 01105
The RCPP is a national organization based in Northampton, MA. Founded in 2000, the Real Cost of Prisons Project brings together justice activists, artists, researchers and people directly experiencing the impact of mass incarceration. Our organizing is focused on challenging the harsh and damaging conditions confinement faced by every prisoner in the United States., ending extreme sentences such as life without the possibility of parole and creating non-carceral alternatives to punishment. The RCPP is committed to bringing the ideas and analysis of people who are incarcerated and formerly incarcerated men and women into our organizing. The Real Cost of Prisons Project recent work in Massachusetts organizing to stop the degrading Department of Corrections policy of dogs sniffing all visitors (including young children), state-wide organizing to end to money bail and working to stop new prison and jail building.www.realcostofprisons.org
Director: Lois Ahrens
Resolve to Stop the Violence Project, better known as RSVP, is a restorative justice program which is based on the premise that violence is learned and it can be unlearned. It takes place inside a house of correction or prison where violent men are housed together. The program originated in a San Francisco jail where a control group study was performed by Dr.James Gilligan, formerly of Harvard. He found that if a man participates in RSVP for just 16 weeks he is over 80% less likely to recidivate for violence during his first year after release; the rates for 12 and 8 weeks are 53.1% and 46.3% respectively. Furthermore, Dr. Gilligan estimates that for every $1 spent on the program $4 are saved. The best outcome, however, is that our streets are safer for our children.
Restorative Justice: RSVP is looking for allies and especially people with connections to the parole and probation officers, court officials, domestic-violence service providers, faith community leaders, survivors of violence and ex-offenders who are accountable and wanting to restore their community.617 680-4985
Students for Sensible Drug Policy is an international grassroots network of students who are concerned about the impact drug abuse has on our communities, but who also know that the War on Drugs is failing our generation and our society. SSDP mobilizes and empowers young people to participate in the political process, pushing for sensible policies to achieve a safer and more just future, while fighting back against counterproductive Drug War policies, particularly those that directly harm students and youth.
Roxbury, MA, 02121