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Learn about the Massachusetts Sentencing Commission

Learn about the role of the Massachusetts Sentencing Commission.

Table of Contents


A new Massachusetts Sentencing Commission was appointed by the Governor in 2014. Chaired by Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Locke, the commission is comprised of judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and representatives from criminal justice, public safety, and victim agencies. In order to ensure that Massachusetts has a state-of-the-art sentencing system, the commission uses data to bring a critical data-based lens to the Commonwealth’s sentencing practices, make Legislative recommendations and become a useful reference for the judiciary system. To accomplish the work set forth in its enabling legislation - G.L. Ch. 211E - the Commission consults with national scholars, gathers data on current sentencing practices, and researches best practices across a range of sentencing options.

The role of the Massachusetts Sentencing Commission

G.L. c. 211E envisions the Sentencing Commission as an ongoing entity that would support, monitor, and assess the implementation of the sentencing guidelines legislation and report annually to the Legislature with recommendations for adjustments and improvements to the sentencing guidelines. The commission and its staff would continue to:

  • Analyze the impact of existing and proposed sentencing policies and practices on criminal justice resources using computer simulation models
  • Provide training and support to court practitioners on the use of the sentencing guidelines
  • Recommend the appropriate placement of newly-created crimes on the sentencing guidelines grid
  • Conduct research on sentencing and other criminal justice issues to help inform the formulation of policies and legislation
  • Collaborate with criminal justice agencies on system-oriented research initiatives
  • Serve as a clearinghouse for information on sentencing



John Adams Courthouse
One Pemberton Square - G300
Boston, MA 02108
Last updated: July 10, 2018