its first meeting on September 5th, the 2019-2020 PILP Class heard
from two sets of speakers on the topic of criminal justice reform.
the class heard from Emily Fish on behalf of Roca, which is a Boston-based
organization, founded in 1988 with a unique crime-intervention program that
focuses on the riskiest of at-risk residents, the community’s most troubled
young men ages 17-24 who won’t take part in other programs and are the most
resistant to change. Roca’s Intervention Model serves approximately 850 young
men annually out of five hubs statewide – Chelsea, Lynn, Boston, Holyoke, and
Springfield. Emily is the director of the Roca site in Lynn.
explained in vivid detail Roca’s program of relentless outreach to at-risk
youth, and the transformational relationships that Roca’s youth workers form to
encourage behavioral change. She described how Roca partners with other
institutional actors – courts, probation departments, police, employers, and
others – to support young people who might be resistant to change or subject to
relapse. She showed detailed data demonstrating the history of trauma,
substance use disorder, and behavioral health problems that many Roca clients
have experienced, and explained how an investment in successful programs like
Roca can avoid greater costs and crime down the road by disrupting the cycle of
incarceration and poverty. Finally, she explained what reforms Roca would like
to see to the criminal justice system, including: raising the age of juvenile
court jurisdiction, reducing the number of probation conditions, creating specialized
“young adult courts,” and requiring specialized trainings for police officers
Stephanie Friends Holt and Meagen Monahan presented on behalf of Victim Rights
Law Center, which is a bi-coastal organization providing free, comprehensive
legal services for sexual assault survivors in Massachusetts and Oregon.
Both Stephanie and Meagen serve as staff attorneys at VRLC, providing a wide
spectrum of legal services throughout Massachusetts.
and Meagen emphasized the wide-ranging nature of the services needed by sexual
assault survivors. Many survivors require assistance in obtaining
protection orders under M.G.L. c. 209A and c. 258E and on protecting personal
privacy as part of the criminal process, but also assistance on a broad range
of other matters. Stephanie and Meagen explained that sexual assault
frequently impacts survivors’ housing and employment, and requires survivors to
walk a fine line between protecting their own privacy but also obtaining
necessary accommodations. Survivors in various stages of the immigration
process also face a wide range of ramifications that call for VRLC’s expert
more information about Roca, visit: https://rocainc.org/.
more information about the Victim Rights Law Center, visit: https://www.victimrights.org/.
provided by PILP Members David Rangaviz (Committee for Public Counsel Services)
and Jeremy Meisinger (Foley Hoag).