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Jay Blitzman, We Need Truth and Reconciliation, CommonWealth (Sept. 27, 2020),

Abstract: Massachusetts is not immune from the pandemic of systemic racism. Recent reports document that racial and ethnic disparities persist at every level of our juvenile and criminal systems. In November 2019, the Juvenile Justice Policy and Data Board noted that, in spite of decreases in arraignment, racial and ethnic disparities persist at every systemic level and may actually be increasing. On September 9, 2020, Harvard’s Criminal Justice Policy Program released a study, commissioned four years ago by Chief Justice Ralph Gants, which noted that black and Latinx defendants routinely face more serious charges and serve longer sentences than white defendants. However, there has been a defensiveness about analyzing and addressing the scope of the problem, which has been reflected in a lack of transparency and the will to accurately gather the data.