Metro

Mass. officials join police group opposing incarceration rate

Middlesex County Sheriff Peter Koutoujian is part of a group of law enforcement leaders from across the nation who are calling for a reduction in the nation’s incarceration rate.

Koutoujian is a member of Law Enforcement Leaders to Reduce Crime & Incarceration.

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The group says it has more than 130 members.

Other current members include former Boston police commissioner William Bratton, now commissioner in New York; former Boston police commissioner Kathleen O’Toole, now the police chief in Seattle; and former Boston US attorney Donald Stern.

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The group says it wants to reduce both incarceration and crime.

“We believe the country can reduce incarceration while keeping down crime, and we support changes to our criminal justice system to achieve that goal,” the group said in a mission statement posted on its website.

The group said it wanted to build a “smarter, stronger, and fairer criminal justice system.”

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The group’s formation comes at a time of bipartisan concern about the levels of incarceration in the United States.

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants said Tuesday in a speech that the United States is a “nation that has gone mad with mass incarceration.” He said the state’s rate is less than half the national average, but still up sharply from past years. He proposed a data-driven strategy to reduce the state’s incarceration rates, the Globe reported Wednesday.

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