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 (EOPSS) served as the Results First project manager and liaison between the commission and the technical team implementing the model through May 2014; upon his departure, Lisa Sampson, director of the research and policy analysis division at EOPSS, assumed the role. The technical work group 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 technical 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 technical work group completed initial model implementation and presented preliminary results to the commission, highlighting findings from the assessment of Department of Correction programs. In June 2014, the technical work group presented findings to the commission from the analysis of the adult criminal justice system, including programs implemented by the Department of Corrections and the Divisions of Parole and Probation.
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 results in early 2014, policymakers dedicated approximately $2.5 million of federal funds from the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant program to initiatives identified as highly effective by the Massachusetts Results First model. They subsequently increased the investment to nearly $4 million by dedicating $1.5 million in state funding toward evidence-based programming. The funds will be distributed through a competitive grant process in late 2014. Completion of comprehensive program inventories has been identified as a criterion for eligibility.
Under the guidance of the commission, EOPPS will continue to refine its analysis of adult criminal justice programs and will expand it to include additional programs across agencies. Results First is in discussion with state leaders to extend the Massachusetts Results First Initiative to include analysis of juvenile justice and child welfare systems.