City Issues Cease and Desist to Baystate Auto Sales

Mayor Domenic J. Sarno announces that the City of Springfield has issued a “cease and desist” order to Baystate Auto Sales (also known as Exclusive Auto Sales), located at 720 Berkshire Ave in Springfield. Baystate Auto Sales has been operating without a proper Class II or Class III auto license to sell or repair vehicles. The cease and desist order was served in-hand this morning. Please see the attached cease and desist order issued by the Springfield Police Department on behalf of Assistant City Solicitor Stephen M. Reilly Jr.

Mayor Sarno states, “People work long and hard to scrimp and save to buy a vehicle and we want to make sure that this or any establishment is not unscrupulously selling lemons. Operating without a license also gives much concern because we want our consumers to be protected in making these major purchases. I’m aware that the Mayor’s Office of Consumer Information has received complaints pertaining to this establishment.”;

Any consumers who have experienced issues with the dealership are encouraged to contact the Mayor’s Office of Consumer Information by visiting or calling (413) 787-6437.

 



State Leaders Release Report on Criminal Justice Reform Measures

Governor Charlie Baker, Senate President Stan Rosenberg, House Speaker Robert DeLeo, and Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph Gants, along with The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center released a report today which, along with related legislation, outlines ways in which Massachusetts can enhance public safety, avoid nearly $10 million in projected corrections costs by 2023 and accelerate further reduction of its incarcerated population.

Compared to other states Ma​ssachusetts has a relatively low overall incarceration rate.  However, there remains room for improvement. Two-thirds of those released from Houses of Correction and more than half of those released from the Department of Correction recidivate within three years. With corrections spending over a billion dollars per year the Governor, the Speaker, the Senate President, and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court requested that the Council of State Governments Justice Center conduct a data driven analysis to assist in the development of recommendations to reduce recidivism, improve public safety and generate savings.

A bipartisan, inter-branch steering committee and working group were established to support this work. Between January 2016 and January 2017, the 25-member working group met six times, and its five-member steering committee met seven times to review analyses conducted by the CSG Justice Center and discuss policy options. In assisting the working group and steering committee, CSG Justice Center staff analyzed more than 13 million state records, conducted more than 300 in-person meetings, and helped craft research-backed policy options to address the state’s criminal justice system challenges.

To that end, policy options outlined in the CSG Justice Center’s report reflect a three-pronged strategy including legislative, administrative and budgetary actions that each branch of government will take to help reduce recidivism within the Commonwealth.  These actions will incentivize participation and expand access to pre- and post-release programming, strengthen post-release supervision, streamline the parole release process and improve and standardize data collection and performance monitoring across the criminal justice system. Actions include a commitment to increased funding for substance use and work training programming, enhancing post-release supervision, and expanding access to earned good time credits for completing recidivism-reduction programs during incarceration.

“Massachusetts should be proud that our prison population has declined by 1,300 inmates over the last two years, leaving us with one of the lowest incarceration rates in the country,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “However, we must focus on addressing recidivism by providing opportunities for certain prisoners who are willing to help themselves and participate in programs like workforce skills training opportunities that put them on the path to being productive members of society once their sentence is served.”

“The steering committee, co-chairs, and working group used their deep experience and unique perspectives to work with the CSG Justice Center to produce this informative report,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “We look forward to continuing our exchange of ideas with all stakeholders and implementing important reforms on criminal justice.”

“Thank you to the CSG Justice Center and everyone who put so much time and effort into this report,” said Senate President Stan Rosenberg (D-Amherst).   “It will help inform our work on Criminal Justice Reform this session. We will incorporate its findings into what I hope will be real substantive changes to the entire range of issues facing our criminal justice system that will reduce recidivism, improve public safety, and generate savings.”

“I thank the CSG Justice Center and the Working Group for their detailed analysis and thoughtful recommendations,” said Speaker Robert DeLeo (D-Winthrop.) “By taking an encompassing approach that includes legislative, administrative and funding components, I believe that we can make lasting change. I am particularly invested in ensuring that support programming – for example job training, substance addiction programs, and help securing housing - is of the highest quality.”

"I am grateful for the hard work and perseverance of the CSG and the Working Group, as well as the leadership and teamwork of my steering committee colleagues--Governor Baker, Lieutenant Governor Polito, President Rosenberg and Speaker DeLeo," said Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph Gants. "The resulting report and legislative and policy proposals highlight the need for a comprehensive approach to reducing recidivism that combines an individualized focus on a defendant's risk, needs, and responsivity to programs; increased access to and incentives for education, job training, and treatment programs for defendants both in prison and during post-release supervision; and a recognition of the importance of facilitating a defendant’s reintegration into society. By examining these issues, the CSG project has enabled us to take a step forward in reforming our criminal justice system and created a springboard for further reforms."

The justice reinvestment process began in August 2015 when leaders from all three branches of government officially requested intensive technical assistance from the CSG Justice Center with the support from The Pew Charitable Trusts and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance. Twenty-six states have successfully used the justice reinvestment approach to date, including Idaho, North Carolina and West Virginia.

To read the full report, click here.



Boston Public Schools' high school graduation rate continues historic climb

Record-setting percentage of graduates represents 13-point gain since 2006

The high school graduation rate for students in the Boston Public Schools (BPS) continued its decade-long improvement in 2016 with a record-setting 72.4 percent of students receiving a diploma in four years, according to data released today by the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

The historic increase, up 1.7 percent from 2015, highlights an upward trajectory in graduation rates for the district since 2006 when the rate was just over 59 percent.

"We recognize we have a lot more work to do to increase graduation rates in Boston, but this improvement demonstrates that our continued commitment to our students in Boston Public Schools is paying off and we're seeing results," said Mayor Martin J. Walsh. "I am extremely proud of our teachers, staff, and students for their tireless dedication toward academic achievement and building opportunities for the youth of Boston."

All major student subgroups experienced improvements or held relatively steady in their four-year graduation rates between the 2014-15 and 2015-16 school years. Students with disabilities experienced some of the largest gains, increasing 4.1 percent in one year. The gap between students with disabilities and all students has narrowed by 6.1 percentage points over the past decade.

"We should all celebrate that students in our most vulnerable populations continue to make strong gains," said Boston School Committee Chairperson Michael O'Neill. "These improvements speak to the district's larger efforts of providing individualized and innovative learning that keeps students engaged." 

Five schools have not only demonstrated gains from 2014-15 to 2015-16 that exceed the district average, but they also show greater long-term gains since the 2005-06 school year than the district as a whole.

    Community Academy of Science and Health (CASH) had an incredible 20.2 percent four-year graduation rate increase from 55.5 percent in 2015 to 75.7 percent in 2016. The 2006 graduation rate for the school was 61.3 percent

    Another Course to College had a graduation rate of 96.2 percent in 2016 and 93.2 percent in 2015; compared to 58.1 percent in 2006.

    Jeremiah E. Burke High School had a graduation rate of 74 percent in 2016 and 71.1 percent in 2015; compared to 43.5 percent in 2006.

    Urban Science Academy had a graduation rate of 70 percent in 2016 and 60.3 percent in 2015; compared to 44.4 percent in 2006.

    East Boston High School had a graduation rate of 67.7 percent in 2016 and 64.1 percent in 2015; compared to 49.7 percent in 2006.

Tanya Freeman-Wisdom, the headmaster of CASH from 2010-2016, and who is now the headmaster of the John D. O'Bryant School for Mathematics and Science, said grant-funded academic coaching for students at risk of dropping out, along with increased family engagement and dual-enrollment programs at area colleges, including a Harvard Medical School science program, had a clear impact on student outcomes.

"Improving our school culture, increasing personalized learning, and providing early access to college gave our students the tools and motivation to succeed academically," Freeman-Wisdom said. 

Other schools with notable successes include New Mission High School, which had a 98.7 percent graduation rate in 2016, compared to 57.6 percent in 2006. Boston Community Leadership Academy (BCLA) improved its rate from 70.9 percent in 2006 to 89.3 percent in 2016.

Boston's three public exam schools continue to be models for the district, with graduation rates above 95 percent for Boston Latin School, Boston Latin Academy, and the O'Bryant School for Mathematics and Science.

Among the four major racial subgroups, the graduation rate for White students increased by 6.7 percentage points to 82.5 percent. For Hispanic students, it increased by 2.8 points to 67.1 percent. For Asian students, it increased by 2.1 points to 88.2 percent. For Black students, it declined 0.3 points to 69.3 percent, remaining relatively stagnant.

"All of our students and staff should be proud of the exceptional teaching and learning that occurs every day in the Boston Public Schools," said BPS Superintendent Tommy Chang. "We should all honor the amazing progress in graduation rates over the past few years while simultaneously recognizing that much work remains in closing opportunity and achievement gaps."

Regarding dropout rates, BPS experienced a slight increase from 4.4 percent in 2014-15 to 4.5 percent in 2015-16. The dropout rate has ranged from 3.8 percent to 4.5 percent over the past four years, which is down from a high of 9.4 percent in 2005-06.