Gants calls for an end to mandatory minimums at MassINC Criminal Justice Reform Summit

Thursday, Mar. 19, 2015
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Photo Credit: Mike Vigneux
The MBA partnered with MassINC for the second annual Massachusetts Criminal Justice Reform Coalition Summit on March 16.

Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants called for an end to mandatory minimum sentences in drug cases at MassINC's Second Annual Massachusetts Criminal Justice Reform Coalition Summit on Monday at UMass Boston.

Co-sponsored by the Massachusetts Bar Association and Community Resources for Justice, this year's conference highlighted the state's judicial branch with a focus on state and federal sentencing practices and reforms.

In his keynote address, Gants noted that mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses are unfair to minority groups, fail to address the drug epidemic and are a poor investment of public funds.

"I am convinced that mandatory minimum sentencing in drug cases will be abolished. The only question is when," said Gants. "Why am I so sure? Because doing so makes fiscal sense, justice sense, policy sense and common sense -- and ultimately good sense will prevail."

The program also included a presentation of new research from Bruce Western, Guggenheim Professor of Criminal Justice Policy at Harvard University, and two panel discussions: "High-Performing Sentencing Commissions" and "Justice for Special Populations." The summit wrapped up with closing remarks from Attorney General Maura Healey.