For Immediate Release - December 09, 2010

PATRICK, MURRAY, DELEO NAME MEMBERS OF PROBATION REFORM WORKING GROUP

Bi-partisan group will submit overhaul plan next month

BOSTON - Thursday, December 9, 2010 - Governor Deval Patrick, Senate President Therese Murray and House Speaker Robert DeLeo today announced the members of a bi-partisan working group that will develop a plan to reform the state's probation department. The group will be responsible for examining the current system, reviewing best practices of other states and making recommendations for a comprehensive reform bill due in January.

"Our objective is to have a high-functioning, modern probation system," said Governor Patrick, who filed a proposal to bring probation under the direct control of the executive branch at the beginning of 2010. "The experts who serve on this working group will help reach a consensus on the best way to achieve our shared goal of restoring confidence and showing the public we're serious about bringing more accountability and oversight to the probation department."

"The Senate is focused on making new improvements in the probation department, adding to those passed in the last budget, and learning from other states about best practices and how to best implement necessary changes," said Senate President Murray.

"Reforming the probation department is a top priority. We must craft broad legislation to repair the severely flawed governance structure at probation and restore the public's trust," Speaker DeLeo said. "While placing the probation department under Civil Service -- as we all agree -- will address the immediate problem, this working group will enable the Governor, the Senate President, my colleagues in the House, and I, to devise a legislative solution that corrects the department's failings and maximizes public safety."

Last month, independent counsel Paul F. Ware Jr. issued a troubling report detailing improper hiring practices at the probation department. The working group, which the Governor, Senate President and House Speaker each made three appointments to, is one of the ways leaders are working to address the report's findings. The individuals they selected have extensive backgrounds in public safety, criminal justice and government management.

The Governor's appointments are:

  • Gregory Massing, General Counsel for the Executive Office of Public Safety
  • David E. Sullivan, General Counsel for the Executive Office for Administration and Finance
  • Abim Thomas, First Assistant Deputy Legal Counsel to the Governor

The Senate President's appointments are:

  • Senator Cynthia Creem, Senate Chair of the Judiciary Committee
  • Senator Brian Joyce, Senate Chair of the State Administration and Regulatory Oversight Committee
  • Senator Michael Knapik, Ranking Minority Member, Public Service Committee

The Speaker's appointments are:

  • Patricia A. Haddad, Assistant Majority Whip
  • Byron Rushing, Second Division Chair
  • Representative F. Jay Barrows

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