Professor Deborah A. Ramirez founded the Northeastern University School of Law Criminal Justice Task Force in the summer of 2020, responding to calls for criminal justice reform by protesters around the world. Through a framework of subgroups, the Task Force addresses policies and practices within the criminal justice system that disenfranchise the most vulnerable members of our society. The subgroups facilitate communication and collaboration across communities which might not otherwise get the opportunity to work together. With more than 110 members, the Task Force includes representatives from the judicial, legal and public policy communities, law enforcement and academia.

Subgroups: 

  • Police Reform, working on issues related to law enforcement reform. Areas of research include, but are not limited to, uniform codification at the local level, professional liability insurance for law enforcement, and alternative emergency response personnel for non-violent 911 calls.
  • Reentry, working to provide support for Massachusetts’ Office of Community Corrections, particularly by establishing a system of community navigators who help returning citizens access state support.
  • Bail Reform and Restorative Justice, working to advocate for state bail reform by creating an evaluation matrix that will help judges establish the risk of flight and appropriate bail levels. This work is being done from a restorative justice perspective.
  • Juvenile Justice, working on several projects related to juvenile justice, including, but not limited to, school policing and deconstruction of the cradle-to-prison pipeline.
  • Confronting Racial Injustice Panels, working to highlight areas of Massachusetts history at the intersection of racial injustice and the legal system. This group is hosting a series of expert-driven panels that explore these topics in significant depth.
  • Historical Narratives is working on several short articles that will become available as educational and training tools.
  • Latinx Stories, working on the same issues as the other history subgroups, with a Latinx perspective.
  • Asian Stories, which will research and publish histories detailing Asian and Asian-American experiences within the criminal justice system.

Upcoming Events

Confronting Racial Injustice

Massachusetts is often heralded as the home of the abolition movement and one of the first states to abolish slavery. Yet the Commonwealth’s economy developed in collaboration with states that claimed people as property. This series explores how enslavement and white supremacy shaped the history of Massachusetts and how they continue to shape its present. From the first program “Slavery and Wealth Creation” to the final event “The Charles Stuart Story: White Lies and Black Lives,” the series asks us all to understand, acknowledge, and confront racial injustice.

Developed by Northeastern Law's Criminal Justice Task Force, Confronting Racial Injustice is a free, five-part series hosted by the Massachusetts Historical Society and sponsored by a number of Boston-area organizations. For the full list of panel discussions and sponsors, visit masshist.org/calendar/series/confronting-racial-injustice.

February 18, 2021 | 6:00 - 7:00 PM
Slavery, Wealth Creation, and Intergenerational Wealth

March 11, 2021 | 6:00 - 7:00 PM
Redlining: From Slavery to $8 in 400 Years

April 15, 2021 | 6:00 - 7:00 PM
Boston School Desegregation Through the Rearview Mirror

May 19, 2021 | 6:00 - 7:00 PM
The War on Drugs in Massachusetts: The Racial Impact of the School Zone Law and Other Mandatory Minimum Sentences

June 9, 2021 | 6:00 - 7:00 PM
The Charles Stuart Story: White Lies and Black Lives