Courts Issue Sentencing Best Practices Reports

In his October 16, 2014, address on the State of the Judiciary, Chief Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court Ralph D. Gants asked “every trial court department with criminal jurisdiction to convene a working group comprised of judges, probation officers, prosecutors, and defense attorneys to recommend protocols in their department that will incorporate best practices to ensure individualized, evidence-based sentences.” 

Following his address, Chief Justice of the Trial Court Paula M Carey asked the Chief Justices of the Boston Municipal, District, Juvenile and Superior Courts Departments to create working groups focused on developing sentencing best practices to provide guidance on sentencing to their respective departments. These committees included internal members of the judiciary and the Trial Court, as well as external representatives from prosecutors, law enforcement, public defenders, bar associations and the Sentencing Commission. 

The materials developed by the working groups are provided below and include information regarding the purposes of sentencing and the empirically-based effect of sentences and probationary terms on recidivism.