Baker administration defends felony justice work; claims enhancements in a number of areas, regardless of

The Baker administration is firing again at critics of its efforts to enhance the felony justice system.

Administration officers say they’re taking motion to implement the steps outlined within the Legal Justice Reform Act (CJRA) of 2018 and extra police laws handed final yr — regardless of criticism from lawmakers and advocates.

The “insinuation that the administration is deliberately subverting the measures adopted in these legal guidelines due to coverage disagreements will not be supported by the details, stated Terence Reidy, secretary of the Government Workplace of Public Security and Safety in a letter to lawmakers.

Home Judiciary Committee Chairman Consultant Michael Day wrote to Reidy final month saying that his workers has reviewed implementation of the reforms and has grave considerations relating to the administration’s willingness to implement the CJRA.”

“The evaluation has, up to now, recognized what look like some disturbing cases of noncompliance with each authorized obligations and deadlines in addition to outright resistance to clear statutory necessities and coverage goals,” Day’s letter stated.

Reidy’s response cites his company’s efforts to make enhancements in 4 areas: information assortment, restrictive housing in state prisons, testing of sexual assault proof assortment kits and police officer coaching. He additionally defended Bridgewater State Hospital after a report this yr questioned the situation of the constructing and the remedy of the mentally ailing males in custody there.

Reidy denied accusations that the state jail system is skirting new laws in opposition to maintaining prisoners in restrictive housing. Lawmakers had requested if there was a coverage to maintain a prisoner remoted for slightly below 22 hours — when such detentions can be required to be reported underneath state regulation.

Reidy’s letter stated there have been 1,361 prisoners confined of their cells for greater than 20 hours, however lower than 22 hours a day, since December 2020. However he stated operational modifications have been made to “be sure that people are usually not held in-cell for greater than 22 hours.” And he stated the Division of Correction has no “sub-22” hour coverage and has by no means skirted its reporting obligations.

Day had stated that failures by Reidy’s workplace had been obstructing efforts to modernize information assortment amongst companies and permit lawmakers to observe the consequences of the CJRA. However Reidy stated his workplace has made progress in making a uniform  information system. He stated most regulation enforcement companies will be capable of use a brand new system by this yr.

Reidy additionally defended efforts to clear a backlog in testing sexual assault proof assortment kits. He stated the state police crime lab recognized greater than 5,900 kits to be examined and sought approval for testing from the prosecuting district legal professional’s workplaces. As of this month, 1,159 have been permitted for testing and about half have been despatched to an unbiased lab.

Reidy additionally stated that most of the lawmakers’ questions on police officer coaching underneath new police reform laws must be directed to the unbiased oversight boards appointed to supervise such coaching. Gov. Charlie Baker signed the regulation final yr requiring a Peace Officers Requirements and Coaching Fee to certify officers and deal with misconduct complaints.

“As you might be conscious, the police reform regulation makes clear that the Fee is
an unbiased company tasked with quite a lot of particular unbiased features over which EOPSS has no management,” Reidy wrote.

A Baker spokesperson stated the letter was a possibility to right quite a lot of inaccurate claims.

Day says he’s now reviewing Reidy’s response.