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A misstep on prisons
[3 Edition]
Boston Globe - Boston, Mass.
Subjects: Public safety; Community policing; Fees & charges
Author: McNamara, Eileen
Date: Jan 21, 2007
Start Page: B.1
Section: Metro
Abstract (Document Summary)

Imagine her surprise when the governor proposed just such a levy at the Massachusetts Municipal Association's annual meeting. [Brandyn Keating] reacted in much the way [Deval Patrick]'s audience did, with stunned silence. "I didn't hear this idea floated anywhere," she said, and called it "unrealistic and counterproductive. I have to believe he will come to his senses."

It is the antithesis of thoughtful public policy, too. Patrick's projections that he could raise $10 million a year from a largely indigent population that is plagued by substance abuse and mental health problems is fanciful. "These people can't afford the fees they are forced to pay now," [Lanny Kutakoff] said, noting that Patrick's predecessor as governor, Mitt Romney, sharply increased probation fees a few days before he left office.

In the week since Patrick floated this lead balloon, the administration has said no more about it. The press office did not return a call seeking more details. The silence probably reflects the feedback Patrick is hearing from the inmate advocacy community, which had hoped that 16 years of Republican pandering to the tough-on-crime crowd would give way to meaningful corrections reform.

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