Structural racism is rampant in the state’s prisons and jails, a special legislative commission found in a study released today.
The 71-page report, based on several site visits and dozens of interviews with current and former inmates and correctional staff, concluded that racism pervades policies, programs and the culture in both the state’s prisons and its county jails. Inmates of color told commissioners about unequal access to medical and mental health care and waiting longer for job placement than their white counterparts. Non-white inmates were routinely given lower-paying janitorial work instead of more desirable and higher-paying jobs in metal work and dog training, the report stated.
The Special Legislative Commission on Structural Racism in Correctional Facilities, led by state Sen. Jamie Eldridge (D-Marlborough) and former state Rep. Nika Elugardo (D-Boston), was charged with investigating the treatment of people of color incarcerated at state and county correctional facilities. More than 11,500 men and women are incarcerated across the state and county correctional system, whether serving sentences, awaiting trials or detained under federal programs.
From disciplinary actions to health care and educational access, people of color — along with non-English speakers and LGBTQ people — experienced worse conditions than white people, according to the report.
Publisher’s Note: This story is an aggregate from GBH, Massachusetts Latino News’ (MALN) partner in providing greater visibility and voice to the Hispanic-Latino community.