Fearing potential release of hundreds of convicted criminals, city and law enforcement officials announced immediate plans Thursday to put more specialized police units on the streets, saying the deepening fallout from suspected evidence tampering at a state lab demands aggressive action.
City officials said “crisis reentry” teams of police, probation officers, and street workers will work with freed offenders to help them reenter society and send a message of “zero tolerance” for criminal activity.
“These are not low-level drug users,” Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said. “These are people with violent histories across the board, who are trafficking large amounts of drugs. This is a tough group of people.”
More than 500 prisoners convicted in Suffolk County, many with long histories of drug-dealing and violence, could have their convictions stayed or revoked and be set free, according to officials. At least 100 federal cases could be affected.
The cases involved evidence tested by Annie Dookhan, the former state chemist who has allegedly admitted to mishandling drug evidence for the last two or three years. But even cases in which she may not have personally tested the evidence are being challenged.
You have reached the limit of 5 free articles in a month
Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.
- High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
- Convenient access across all of your devices
- Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
- Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
- Less than 25¢ a week