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State Sen. Chang-Diaz Calls For Criminal Justice Reform

State Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz is calling on Gov. Charlie Baker and Beacon Hill leadership to take increased action on criminal justice reform in Massachusetts.

The nonpartisan Council of State Governments is finishing up a report on what lawmakers should focus on when it comes to criminal justice reform.

Chang-Diaz and other state lawmakers say the report will not go far enough in addressing issues like sentencing reforms and racial bias in incarceration.

"We have been patient long enough," Chang-Diaz said at the podium during Boston's Martin Luther King Jr. Day breakfast on Monday. "The time is ripe to do right on true criminal justice reform. And to our friends the governor, the speaker and the Senate president, the time is ripe to stop your waiting, too, and to live up to your word."

Baker says the state has been historically proactive when it comes to criminal justice.

"Massachusetts has a long history with respect to criminal justice of being a progressive state," he said, responding to Chang-Diaz's comments. "We have always had a relatively low rate of incarceration compared to other states and at this point in time I think we have the lowest rate or second lowest rate of incarceration in the country."

The CSG's working report finds recidivism is the root of many of the issues with the state's criminal justice system.

With reporting by WBUR's Shannon Dooling

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