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Mass. Ranks 5th For People In Criminal Justice System

Massachusetts ranks 5th in the nation when it comes to the number of residents in the criminal justice system.

A study by the Pew Research Center shows 1 in 24 adults in the Bay State is on probation or parole, or behind bars.

WBUR'S Abigail Beshkin reports.

BESHKIN: The state ranks third in the country, for the percentage of adults on probation or parole — one out of every 28.

Massachusetts ranks 47th in the country for the percentage of adults in prison or jail — only one out of 190.

Pew's Adam Gelb says the Massachsuetts approach — emphasizing community supervision — is a model states should follow.

ADAM GELB: We want to be tough on violent offenders and keep them behind bars for a long time. And for the lowest risk offenders at the opposite end of the spectrum, we want to have stronger community supervision in place.

BESHKIN: Gelb also says in the economic downturn, states, including Massachusetts, should put more resources into parole and probation, since they're cheaper.

For WBUR I'm Abigail Beshkin.

This program aired on March 3, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.

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