Federal Judge Rules County Jail Must Allow Addict Methadone

A federal judge in Boston has ordered officials at the Essex County House of Correction to allow an incoming inmate to take his doctor-prescribed methadone while he serves a sentence there. It was thought to be the first such order issued by an American judge. Geoffrey Pesce, a 32-year-old resident of Ipswich, Massachusetts, faces a

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Massachusetts High Court Vacates OUI Conviction for Improper Jury Instruction in Which Judge Told Jury to Disregard the Absence of Any Sobriety Tests

The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts ruled that a defendant accused of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence (“OUI”) has the right to prevent a jury instruction that could cause the jury to speculate about facts not in evidence. Michael Wolfe was arrested and charged with OUI after a Marlborough police officer observed

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New Federal Study Shows Half of Incarcerated Veterans Have Mental Disorder

By Christopher Zoukis A report compiled by a well-respected prisoner group indicates that while the Massachusetts Department of Corrections is diligent in collecting profits from prisoners’ commissary purchases, it has failed to spend those funds on prisoner benefit purchases, as required by state regulation — to the tune of a $2 million surplus for the

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Massachusetts Prisoners Involved in Reform Efforts Transferred, Held in Solitary

By Christopher Zoukis Three Massachusetts state prisoners have been placed in segregation in apparent retaliation for their prison reform activism. Timothy Muise, Shawn Fisher and Steven James, all incarcerated at the medium-security prison MCI Shirley, were taken from their cells late at night on March 23, 2016 and transferred to three different Massachusetts facilities, where

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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.

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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Massachusetts Probation Officials: First Circuit Reverses Convictions

On December 19, 2016, the First Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the convictions of several former public officials in Massachusetts for their roles in a hiring scheme at the Office of the Commissioner of Probation (OCP). The defendants, Elizabeth V. Tavares, John J. O’Brien, and William H. Burke III, were high-ranking officials in the OCP.

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