Criminal justice reform

Senator Friedman has sponsored the following bills relative to criminal justice reform in the 2019-2020 legislative session:

S937 An Act relative to treatment, not imprisonment

  • Summary: This bill would allow the court, when a defendant has a substance use disorder, to order the defendant to participate in treatment as a condition of pretrial release or probation, but prohibits the court from imposing incarceration if relapse is the only infraction and the defendant is otherwise engaged in treatment.

S938 An Act relative to guilty but with a mental illness

  • Summary: This bill would create a new finding of guilty but with a mental illness. The finding would carry the same sentence provided by law for a defendant found guilty of the same crime, but if the sentence includes a term of imprisonment, the defendant would serve the sentence at a mental health facility or, if the defendant is a male and the court determines that strict security is required, at Bridgewater State Hospital. Consistent with public safety and security protocol, the defendant would be required to be held in the least restrictive setting that is clinically indicated and would not create a likelihood of serious harm.

S940 An Act to reduce recidivism among emerging adults

  • Summary: This bill would require the adult criminal justice system to adopt developmentally-appropriate, evidence-informed policies to ensure positive outcomes for justice system-involved young adults, and thus increase public safety. The bill would amend the purpose statement of the criminal justice system to explicitly articulate rehabilitation as the goal for emerging adults (up to age 26) by including language closely resembling the language pertaining to juveniles, with appropriate modifications. It would also codify the provisions in the regulations of the Department of Youth Services that apply to late adolescents and young adults so they would also apply to emerging adults held in the Department of Corrections and county Houses of Correction.

S1662 An Act relative to establishing a criminal justice and community support trust fund

  • Summary: This bill would establish a Criminal Justice and Community Support Trust Fund, administered by the Department of Mental Health, in consultation with the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security. Funds would be used for grants to support county and community-based jail diversion programs for persons with mental illness or substance use disorder, and for community policing and behavioral health training initiatives.