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In Drug Lab Wake, Menino Launches Emergency Inmate Reentry Program

BOSTON — Citing a “large number” of inmates expected to be released from prison due to tainted drug evidence, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino on Thursday announced an emergency reentry program that will be launched Friday in an attempt to minimize the potentially disruptive effects on communities.

The program, which was announced with an appeal for state and federal funding, is designed to head off a “looming crisis,” according to Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis.

“This is an emergency situation for our neighborhoods, we should just treat it that way,” Menino said. “We see the potential, want to get ahead of it, and we’ll put our reentry plan forward.”

The plans were announced following a meeting in Boston that included U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz and Suffolk District Attorney Dan Conley. Officials said the state Department of Correction had been cooperative with the planning for the program.

“We’ve never seen anything like this. This is unprecedented,” said Conley, describing efforts to respond to what he called an “utter disgrace” at a state drug testing lab, where former chemist Annie Dookhan has admitted to improper handling of drug samples.

In response to questions from the press, Menino said questions about the supervision of Dookhan need to be “continually” asked.

With reporting by State House News Service and the WBUR Newsroom

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