“There are still too many instances of young people killing other young people, and isolated but no less shocking instances of repeat offenders committing further acts of violence. This problem belongs to every one of us.”
-Governor Patrick, State of the Commonwealth
Ending violence and creating peace in our communities will require a whole host of strategies and the commitment of the entire Commonwealth.
Balanced, Smart Reforms
Massachusetts has the opportunity to make smart, balanced decisions to protect public safety.
In 2012, Governor Patrick signed a balanced crime law that protects the public from the worst repeat offenders and initiates common sense sentencing laws for non-violent drug offenders . Those changes start to move us away from the expensive and ineffective policy of warehousing non-violent drug offenders towards a more reasonable, smarter supervision and substance abuse program. Preliminary estimates are that nearly 600 non-violent drug offenders would be immediately eligible for supervised parole, setting them on a path to recovery and stability and saving the state millions of dollars. The Governor and Legislative leaders are committed to returning to the subject of mandatory minimum sentences in the next session.
In addition to targeted law enforcement efforts, the Patrick-Murray Administration has taken a two-pronged approach to creating a culture of opportunity for our youth: preventing and addressing violence, and providing services that enable our youth to make positive choices and lead productive lives.
In the FY13 budget , Governor Patrick prioritizes funding for positive youth development and youth violence prevention programs for a total investment of $35.5 M. The Governor’s Safe and Successful Youth Initiative will continue to focus on communities with higher rates of violence. Working alongside municipal leaders, local law enforcement and community groups in high crime areas, the initiative supports strategies that address local realities with measurable success at reducing violence and engaging young people at risk.
Governor Patrick supports funding for summer jobs for at-risk youth across the Commonwealth, proposing $8.6 million in funding for FY13 to support thousands of summer jobs for at-risk youth. The Administration is calling on private sector employers to do their part and make paid and unpaid internships available to young people from urban communities.