News and Commentary Archive

Explore recent scientific discoveries and news as well as CLBB events, commentary, and press.

Mission

The speed of technology in neuroscience as it impacts ethical and just decisions in the legal system needs to be understood by lawyers, judges, public policy makers, and the general public. The Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Law, Brain, and Behavior is an academic and professional resource for the education, research, and understanding of neuroscience and the law. Read more

Mandatory Minimum Sentences are Cruel and Ineffective. Sessions Wants Them Back.

By Nancy Gertner | The Washington Post | May 15, 2017

Last week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions instructed the nation’s 2,300 federal prosecutors to pursue the most serious charges in all but exceptional cases. Rescinding a 2013 policy that sought to avoid mandatory minimums for low-level, nonviolent drug offenders, Sessions wrote it was the “moral and just” thing to do.

Sessions couldn’t be more wrong. We served as a federal prosecutor and a federal judge respectively. In our experience, mandatory minimums have swelled the federal prison population and led to scandalous racial disparities. They have caused untold misery at great expense. And they have not made us safer. Continue reading »

Judge Nancy Gertner Reflects On Mandatory Minimums

CLBB Facugertner_150x150lty Member Nancy Gertner appeared on WBUR to discuss her efforts to fix the system of mass incarceration that forced her to put hundreds of men and women behind bars, during her 17-year judicial career. In conversation with host Meghna Chakrabarti, Judge Gertner notes:

“The irony is, I’m going through all my sentences — hundreds of men, largely men that I sentenced — and I’m mostly dealing with mandatory minimums, because, candidly…I went as low as I could go in all of these cases. And now we’re dealing with people who just got stuck in, really, a nightmare sentencing structure.”

Listen to WBUR’s radio broadcast from November 13, 2015 here.