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Democrat Kayyem outlines criminal justice platform

December 3, 2013

BOSTON (AP) — Juliette Kayyem, a Democratic candidate for governor, unveiled a plan Monday she said will help overhaul the state’s criminal justice system with a focus on rehabilitation and curbing waste.

Kayyem said her plan would help former inmates integrate back into society after leaving prison and would expand veteran treatment courts to aid veterans in needs of services.

If elected, Kayyem said she would order cost-benefit analyses across the entire criminal justice system to see which programs are working. She said ineffective approaches would be eliminated and efforts that show results would be expanded.

The Cambridge resident also said she would decrease overly long sentences for non-violent technical violations, increase spending on education and job training programs to help those getting out of prison find work, and boost funding for substance abuse treatment and health services.

“Too often non-violent youth offenders and veterans are swept into a system that does not provide them tools to get out,” Kayyem said in a statement accompanying the release of her plan.

She said her proposal would also help inmates maintain ties with their families during incarceration and provide comprehensive support services during the first few months after they are released to help reduce recidivism rates.

Kayyem, a former federal and state homeland security official, is one of five Democrats running for governor next year.

Other Democratic hopefuls including include state Attorney General Martha Coakley, state Treasurer Steven Grossman, Newton pediatrician Don Berwick, and former Wellesley Selectman Joseph Avellone.

Former Harvard Pilgrim Health Care CEO Charlie Baker is the only Republican in the race.

Berwick said he would also work to curb the rate of incarceration and recidivism by focusing on “systemic problems and ensuring that people of all backgrounds have the opportunity to succeed in our Commonwealth.”

A spokesman for Baker declined comment. The other candidates didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick isn’t seeking re-election.

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