Statement of Massachusetts Sheriff’s Association President Peter J. Koutoujian on the signing of S. 2371

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This legislation represents a major shift in the Commonwealth’s approach to the criminal justice system. The endeavor of a fairer, more whole justice system does not end today – it begins.

Massachusetts Sheriffs are supportive of proposals contained in this legislation that have been designed to maintain the highest level of care for individuals sent to us by the courts. We look forward to working with Governor Baker and the Legislature on technical corrections and supplemental funding legislation which will ensure sheriffs’ offices can implement these reforms in a manner consistent with the bill’s intent.

As law enforcement leaders responsible for safeguarding public safety in our communities, we hope that in future iterations of criminal justice reform, policy makers will consider the importance of avoiding unnecessary incarceration, especially for those suffering from mental health and substance use disorders. Innovative jail diversion efforts, combined with robust post release supports for those who leave our facilities, will make our communities stronger, safer and will save taxpayer dollars.