Future Search Conference” sponsored by the MA DOC
In late February, the MA DOC, along with the MA Parole board and the MA Sheriffs Association, hosted a 3 day working conference for a select group of participants to think through what direction corrections should head in the future.
The participants were selected by the DOC to represent a broad base of stakeholders. A press release by the DOC suggests that the outcome was concurrence on 6 foci: 1) partnerships across agencies; 2) sentencing reform and alternatives to incarceration; 3) improving the process of reentry into the community through diverse rehabilitative opportunities 4) increase public awareness, educate and engage advocates for public safety; 5) change institutional culture in prisons and jails to maintain a culture that is a healing environment for all stakeholders; and 6) family involvement.
Little or no changes in the DOC or in sentencing structures has happened since Clarke became commissioner in November, 2007; the executive and legislative branches share responsibility for the current sclerosis.
This conference is modeled on comparable efforts that Commissioner Clarke led in both Nebraska and Washington, states in which he was formerly the head of corrections. The department’s hope is that the participants, divided into these 6 subject areas, will continue to meet and shape these foci in the coming period, and that sometime within the coming half decade, they will reconvene to assess what changes have come about as a result of this effort.
According to the DOC, a full report from the conference should be available on the DOC website sometime in April, with or without a list of the participants.