Review Likely to Spur Debate Over Criminal Justice Reform

BOSTON (AP) — Lowering the rate of recidivism and making it easier for ex-inmates to re-enter society has been the focus of a more than yearlong study of Massachusetts’ criminal justice system.

The Council of State Governments is expected to issue final recommendations next month; lawmakers would then file legislation.

A coalition called Jobs Not Jails plans to ask lawmakers for changes that go beyond what’s likely to be in the recommendations. Advocates want to shorten the look-back period for criminal background checks from the current five years for misdemeanors to three years and from 10 years for felonies to seven years.

The group also wants to raise the threshold for when a larceny becomes a felony, arguing the current $250 threshold makes felons out of people who have committed relatively low-level crimes.

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