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Audit Review of Chapter 211E of the Massachusetts General Laws

This audit of the Massachusetts Sentencing Commission (MSC) for the period July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018, examined whether MSC developed revised sentencing guidelines and, if so, whether it submitted them to the state Legislature for enactment into law and to what extent (if any) they were used in the court system.

Organization: Office of the State Auditor
Date published: November 7, 2019

Executive Summary

In accordance with Section 12 of Chapter 11 of the Massachusetts General Laws, the Office of the State Auditor has conducted a performance audit of the Massachusetts Sentencing Commission (MSC) for the period July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018. In this performance audit, we determined whether MSC developed revised sentencing guidelines and, if so, whether it submitted them to the state Legislature for enactment into law and to what extent (if any) they were used in the court system. During our audit, we encountered a scope limitation that prevented us from applying all of the audit procedures we considered necessary to reach a conclusion on our second objective, as discussed in detail in the “Audit Objectives, Scope, and Methodology” section of this report. The audit work we were able to perform in relation to this audit objective is discussed in the “Other Matters” section of this report.

Below is a summary of our finding and recommendation, with links to each page listed.

Finding 1

MSC did not submit the revised sentencing guidelines it developed to the Legislature for enactment into law. As a result, the guidelines do not have the force and effect of law.

Recommendation

MSC should work with the Legislature and others as necessary on an amendment to Chapter 211E of the General Laws that establishes specific timelines by which MSC must submit any guideline revisions it approves to the Legislature.

 

A PDF copy of the Review of Chapter 211E of the Massachusetts General Laws is available here.

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(617) 727-3014

Address

Massachusetts State House
Room 230
Boston, MA 02133
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