The Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative in Massachusetts
In March 2012, Governor Deval L. Patrick, Senate President Therese Murray, and House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo submitted formal letters of invitation to the Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative. These leaders highlighted their ongoing commitment to performance management and the use of data to shape policy and budget decisions.
The effort is being coordinated by the Special Commission to Study the Commonwealth’s Criminal Justice System, which was established in Section 189 of the fiscal year 2012 budget to, among other responsibilities, pursue technical assistance to reduce corrections spending and utilize the savings to reduce crime, strengthen public safety, and fund other budget priorities. Commissioners include representatives from all key state and local public safety entities as well as three appointees each by the governor, House of Representatives, and Senate. Andrea Cabral, secretary of public safety and security, chairs the commission. Mike Coelho, former assistant secretary of policy and planning at the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, or EOPSS, served as the Results First project manager and liaison between the commission and the technical team implementing the model. The staff team includes analysts from the departments of Correction and Youth Services, the Parole Board, the Office of the Commissioner of Probation, the Sentencing Commission, EOPSS’ Office of Grants and Research, and the Executive Department of Administration and Finance.
In February 2013, the staff work group completed a comprehensive recidivism analysis and presented the methodology and data at the Feb. 25, 2013, commission meeting. The recidivism data were well-received, and commissioners voted to move forward with the next phase of analysis. In October 2013, the staff work group completed initial model implementation and presented preliminary results to the commission, highlighting findings from the assessment of Department of Correction programs. The staff work group is completing the remaining components of the crime model, with the goal of publishing reports in early to mid-2014.
In July 2013, Massachusetts confirmed its ongoing commitment to Results First and evidence-based policymaking by making the commission permanent and directing it to use the Results First approach to develop legislation that would decrease corrections spending and redirect the savings to reduce crime, improve public safety, and address other budget priorities. In addition, after reviewing the preliminary analyses, policymakers committed to spending $1.5 million to $2.5 million of federal Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant funds on programs identified as highly effective by the Massachusetts Results First model. The competitive grant process will begin in summer 2014.