Triangle, Inc. Receives $100,000 for School to Career Programming

Following Governor Baker’s signing and the finalization of the Commonwealth’s FY 2020 Budget, Triangle, Inc. is proud to announce it has received an additional $100,000 in funding for its School-to-Career program, which supports students and recent graduates between 16 and 26-years-old in the Metro North and South Shore regions. The funds will help advance programs to help young adults plan their careers, expand their experience and skills to secure competitive employment, and live more independent lives. The allocation is part of $5.4 million funding in the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s budget dedicated to workforce development and employment service programming throughout the Commonwealth.

“We want to thank our elected officials, including House Speaker Robert DeLeo, Senate President Karen Spilka, and the co-sponsors of this budget amendment, Representative Daniel Ryan and Senator Sal DiDomenico for their work in securing this critical funding,” said Coleman Nee, CEO of Triangle, Inc. “These additional resources will advance the vital work of providing transition aged young adults with meaningful pathways for career and lifetime success, giving our participants a more independent future.”

About Triangle, Inc.

Since 1971, Triangle, Inc. has empowered people with disabilities and their families to live rich, fulfilling lives. With a strong focus on employment, empowerment, independence, and community engagement, Triangle, Inc. reaches more than 4,000 people across eastern Massachusetts each year. Through all of its efforts, Triangle, Inc reminds our communities that we are all people with abilities. Learn more about the organization and their impact at triangle-inc.org.

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Chelsea Soldiers’ Home Awarded $100 Million to Replace Long Term Care Facility

The Chelsea Soldiers’ Home has been awarded $100 million from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs to replace its long term care facility. The grant will reimburse the Commonwealth of up to 65% of construction costs for the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home. The Baker-Polito Administration has secured the funds to rebuild the facility.

“Today marks another milestone for the redevelopment of the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “It is our duty to care for those who stood up and served this nation, and our obligation to ensure that their sacrifices are not forgotten. This funding allows us to move forward in that commitment.”

“Receiving this grant demonstrates Massachusetts’ strong relationship with veteran organizations on both the state and federal level,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “This award helps the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home continue its efforts in providing care to our veterans with honor, dignity and respect.”

Governor Baker announced plans for the new long term care Community Living Center (CLC) in May of 2017 and a groundbreaking was celebrated in October of 2018. During the construction, the facility will remain fully operational. The new facility will have 154 private rooms to care for veterans. The project is anticipated to be completed in 2022.

“We appreciate the financial commitment and collaboration with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders. “We are building a state of the art facility that will care for our nation’s heroes.”

“Massachusetts continues to lead the nation in its care for Veterans. The VA’s grant helps us continue to care for our elder population of Veterans throughout the Commonwealth,” said Department of Veterans’ Services Secretary Francisco Ureña. “We’re looking forward to the great things to come for the campus and its members.”

The Soldiers’ Home in Chelsea first opened its doors to Massachusetts veterans in 1882 and offers Residential and Long Term Care programs to eligible Veterans in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The campus offers Independent Living and Long Term Care services; serving approximately 300 Massachusetts Veterans daily. The Soldiers’ Home in Chelsea operates with a staff of 310 employees, whose mission is to provide the highest quality of personal health care services to Massachusetts Veterans with Honor, Dignity, and Respect. Chelsea is surveyed annually by the Federal Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”) and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”). It is also fully accredited by The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.

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Chelsea Jewish Lifecare Celebrates 100 Years of Care From Humble Beginnings In a Chelsea Home to Modern Care at Multiple Locations

One hundred years ago, Lena Goldberg started Chelsea Jewish Nursing Home by turning a small multi-family building into a welcoming home for elders. Today that home has grown into Chelsea Jewish Healthcare, one of New England’s leading healthcare organizations. The non-profit operates campuses in Chelsea, Peabody and Longmeadow, employing more than 2,000 individuals and taking care of more than 1,000 individuals every day. While there has been extensive growth and expansion throughout years, one thing never changed: the organization’s unwavering commitment to provide high-quality, compassionate care in a “real” home setting.

“From the very beginning, our goal was to provide the best possible care,” said Barry Berman, who has been CEO of Chelsea Jewish Lifecare for more than 40 years. “We encourage our residents to make their own choices and live their own lives by creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere with a caring and compassionate staff.”

He further explained, “Living in a residence that offers all the amenities of a real home greatly enhances the quality of life for elderly and disabled individuals.”

Berman recalled coming to Chelsea Jewish when he was only 23 and fresh out of graduate school.

“When they started this organization, that was before MediCare, MediCaid and public health programs,” he said. “It was just a bunch of Jewish women who saw elders that needed services and they decided to buy a home and help them. When I started, I was only 23 and just got out of graduate school. It was a small, 60-bed home that really needed an incredible amount of work. I went to the Trustees and I was honest with them. I said them I didn’t have a lot of experience, but we could all work together and figure out how to do this so we can improve the home.”

By 1983, they were able to demolish the home on Lafayette Avenue and build the brand new Chelsea Jewish Nursing Home – a home that was just completely renovated and modernized this past year.

Over the past 100 years, Chelsea Jewish Lifecare has achieved many similar and significant milestones.

The opening of the award-winning Leonard Florence Center for Living in 2010, the first urban Green House skilled nursing facility in the country, is one example. This revolutionary nursing home in Chelsea includes 30 rooms devoted to individuals diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) and MS (multiple sclerosis). Individuals are able to live as independently as possible through the cutting-edge technology built into the center. Today the Leonard Florence Center takes care of more individuals living with ALS under one roof than any place in the world.

The organization greatly expanded in 2016 with the addition of a Peabody campus and again in 2018 with the affiliation of JGS Lifecare in Longmeadow. All three campuses reflect the organization’s mission: to be the most respected provider of service-enriched residential care and post-acute care for seniors and individuals living with debilitating neurological conditions.

In 2017, the Chelsea Jewish Nursing Home underwent a dramatic $16 million renovation. The new building reflects a legacy Green House skilled nursing model that can be easily duplicated by nursing homes across the country. This concept sets the stage for new level of care in senior housing.

“We came back to the home atmosphere that our founder, Mrs. Goldberg, originally had in mind,” said Adam Berman, president of Chelsea Jewish Lifecare. “What’s so unique about our model is that we’ve combined contemporary design elements with the traditional concept of making one’s home as warm and inviting as possible.”

On April 28, employees, residents, families, friends and community members came together to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Chelsea Jewish Lifecare. Governor Charlie Baker recognized this momentous day by issuing a Citation in honor of this special anniversary. Amidst dinner, dancing and emotional speeches, attendees viewed a slide show with over 200 photos spanning the last 100 years. A highlight of the event was a heartfelt tribute to the 49 staff members who have worked at the organization for 25 years or more.

Barry Berman summed up the night perfectly: “Our employees are the real reason behind our longevity. Without them, we wouldn’t be here today.”

Looking to the future, Berman said they will look to grow, but not hastily.

“We believe in growth, but we also believe in very calculated and smart growth,” he said. “Some companies can grow too fast. Although we are ready to grow, we are cautious about it…We do it with our eyes wide open because we’re not going to grow just to grow.”

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A Good Start – Community Preservation Recommends Five Projects in First Round of Funding

Rehabbing historic monuments and buildings and establishing a community garden are among the first projects the Community Preservation Committee (CPC) will be recommending to the City Council during their initial pilot round of Community Preservation Act (CPA) funding.

Monday night, the CPC recommended approval of funding for five projects, and tabled two other proposals until May so they can get more information on them.

The projects recommended by the CPC Monday night included money for the rehabilitation of the city’s Civil War monument, improvements to the Garden Cemetery, a Marlborough Street Community Garden proposed by The Neighborhood Developers (TND), and renovation of the Governor Bellingham-Cary House.

The two proposals that were tabled until more information could be gathered were for renovations to the Congregation Agudath Shalom Museum (Walnut Street Synagogue) and for the city to hire an Affordable Housing Trust Fund housing specialist on a one-year contract basis.

Each of the proposals generated debate to its merits, with members keeping an eye on the potential that future years will feature requests with potentially larger impacts on the CPA fund.

Chelsea voters approved the adoption of the CPA in November 2016. It will provide hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to be used for the creation and acquisition of affordable housing, historic preservation, open space and recreation. The CPA trust fund currently has a balance of just over $2.2 million.

The projects that could be funded during the initial pilot round are capped at $50,000 each. The total of the seven proposals that came before the CPC is just under $270,000, according to CPC Chair Jose Iraheta.

The pilot round of funding is not only a way to get out the word about CPA funding, but also gives the CPC an opportunity to work out the best method for recommendation of the projects, Iraheta said. The CPC can make recommendations for projects, but the funding is ultimately approved by the City Council.

“There’s so much we have to do to educate the community and have them understand what this is all about,” said CPC member Bea Cravatta. “This is a good amount of money that can change the city in a positive way.”

Key among the factors CPC members weigh in considering recommendation for a project is its community support, benefit to the city’s vulnerable populations, matching funds from the project’s proponents, and how it fits into Chelsea’s overall Master Plan.

“I believe that little pieces like this are important to the community and to people of all income levels,” CPC member Tuck Willis said of the Civil War monument rehab. “Seeing a decaying monument is not good for anyone. A neater, cleaner, spiffier look is better for everyone.”

Improvements to the Garden Cemetery also got high marks from many of the CPC members.

“This is a fantastic project that strongly aligns with our leading and supporting principles,” said CPC Vice Chair Caroline Ellenbird.

Cravatta and CPC member Juan Vega both supported the project but said they would like to see some more ideas about how the community at large could make more use of the space.

The two projects with the most questions about them were tabled to give Karl Allen of the planning department time to gather more information for the CPC.

Vega and Willis both said they both had concerns about CPA funds being used to fund a staff position for the city with the Affordable Housing Trust Fund. CPC members also had questions about funding and budget specifics for rehab of the Congregation Agudath Shalom Museum.

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Chelsea Cultural Council Announces Grant Recipients

Chelsea Cultural Council Announces Grant Recipients

The Chelsea Cultural Council has announced the awarding of grants totalling $20,809 to 18 local artists, schools and cultural organizations.

The grants were awarded from a pool of funds distributed to Chelsea by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency that supports public programs and educational activities in the arts, sciences, and humanities.

“We are very grateful to Governor Baker and the Legislature for their continued support of the Massachusetts Cultural Council and the funding that directly benefits cultural activities here in Chelsea, said Marlene Jennings Chair. Our city has its own unique identity and in these sponsored events we get to really experience the spirit of Chelsea.”

Awardees for this year are:

•Browne Middle School: Speaker – Lost Boy of Sudan, $250

•Chelsea Black Community: Black History Month, $1,800

•Chelsea Community Connections: Chelsea Fun Bus, $1,000

•Chelsea Public Library: A Universe of Stories, $1,500

•Clark Avenue Middle School: Zumix Mini-Series, $979

•Comite de Hondurenos Unidos de MA: Central American Parade & Cultural Festival, $1,500

•Eliza Gagnon: Chelsea Zone Time Map, $800

•Ellen Rovner: The Chelsea Gateway Project, $720

•Governor Bellingham-Cary House Association: Photographic Documentation Project, $959

•GreenRoots: Bringing Community to Revel at the Revitalized ChelseaWalk, $800

•Lewis Latimer Society & Museum: Chelsea Science Festival, $800

•MUSIC Dance.edu: Hip Hop Around the World, $380

•Stacy Amaral: We Are Here/ Aqui Estamos, $600

•TheatreZone, Inc. DBA, Apollinaire Theatre Company: Apollinaire in the Park 2019, $1,500

•The Musary, JRP Inc.: Musical instruments Lending Acquisitions, $800

•Veronica Robles: Serenara a Chelsea by Veronica Robles Female Mariachi, $1,500

•Walnut Street Synagogue: A Photo Documentary of Chelsea Life in the 1970’s, $1,800

The Chelsea Cultural Council (CCC) has also set aside an additional $3,121 to complete a public mural project in collaboration with Chelsea Public School Art Department that began in the fall of 2018. The CCC is one of 329 local councils that serve every city and town in the state. The state legislature provides an annual appropriation to the Massachusetts Cultural Council, which then allocates funds to each local council. Decisions, about which activities to support, are made at the community level by the council.

The members of the Chelsea Cultural Council are: Marlene Jennings, Chair; Dakeya Christmas, Co-Chair; Devra Sari Zabot, Recorder; Juliana Borgiani, Treasurer; Sharlene McLean, Angelina McCoy, and Carolina Anzola. The CCC will seek applications again this fall. CCC Guidelines will be available online as well as the 2020 application beginning Sept. 1, 2019 at www.mass-culture.org/chelsea.

The deadline to apply is Tuesday, Oct. 15.

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Supt. Bourque Says Governor’s Budget Increases Still Aren’t Enough

Supt. Bourque Says Governor’s Budget Increases Still Aren’t Enough

Gov. Charlie Baker brought a short smile to the face of many when he unveiled an increase in education funding in his State Budget proposal two weeks ago, but this week Supt. Mary Bourque said the proposal needs to go further for cities like Chelsea.

“Although a step in the right direction for public education and in particular gateway cities, the Governor’s FY20 budget does not go nearly far enough,” she wrote in a letter on Feb. 6.

Bourque said the Chelsea Public Schools are facing another year where they will likely – as it stands now – have to cut another $2 million from their budget. That falls upon multiple years of cuts that have weighed cumulatively on the schools and taken away core services from students.

One of the problems is that salaries, health insurance and special education costs are rising so quickly. This year, she said, they are looking at increases in those areas of $5.2 million.

Gov. Baker’s budget proposal steers an increase of $3.2 million to Chelsea over last year, but in the face of rising costs, that still leaves the schools in the red.

It’s yet another year of advocacy for the schools to fix the Foundation Formula – an exercise that has seemingly played out without any success for at least five years.

“Once again we are facing another year of painful budget cuts because the foundation formula used to calculate aid to our schools is broken,” she wrote. “The formula from 1993 has not kept up with inflation, changing demographics or increased student needs. I am however, encouraged this year that all leaders at the State level have acknowledged that the formula is broken, including for the first time the Governor.”

Bourque also spelled out the complex nature of the Chelsea Schools, including numerous factors that are contributing to the reduction in funding.

One of the most startling situations is that there are fewer kids, and with education funding based on numbers of kids, that translates to even less money for the schools.

Bourque said this year they have begun to identify a downward trend in enrollment for the first time in years. She said fewer kids are coming in from outside the U.S. and families are leaving Chelsea for areas with lower rents and costs of living.

“In addition to the foundation formula undercounting critical costs, a significant portion of this year’s $2 million dollar gap is due to student demographic shifts taking place in our schools,” she wrote. “We are seeing a downward trend in student enrollment…This year we have noted fewer students entering our schools from outside the United States as well as a number of students and families moving from Chelsea due to the high cost of living in the Boston area.” The Chelsea Public Schools under the City Charter have until April 1 to submit their balanced budget. Bourque said they plan to lobby members of the House of Representatives and the Senate in the meantime to fix the funding gaps that now exist.

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Chelsea 500 Lands State Grant of $65,000 for Casino Workforce Training

Chelsea 500 Lands State Grant of $65,000 for Casino Workforce Training

The Chelsea 500 movement has received a $65,000 grant from the state to help them secure jobs with the Encore Boston Harbor casino for 500 or more Chelsea residents.

The Chelsea 500 formed from several existing community groups last fall, and began holding open houses and informational meetings for residents to try to get into the pipeline for the 5,000 or more jobs that are to be filled at the casino by June.

Chelsea 500, which engages the city, businesses, and non-profits to create a workforce pipeline so that 500 or more residents can gain the skills necessary to apply for positions at Encore Boston Harbor, with a goal of at least 200 of them gaining employment. Although initial efforts are focused on the casino, the long term goal is to sustain workforce development that will extend to other businesses.

Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito announced $500,000 to nine projects, including the Chelsea 500, through the Urban Agenda Grant Program last week. The program emphasizes community-driven responses to local obstacles, and promotes economic development through partnership-building, problem solving, and shared accountability in urban centers.

Launched by the Baker-Polito Administration in 2016, the Urban Agenda Grant Program offers competitive awards offer flexible funding for local efforts that bring together community stakeholders to pursue economic development initiatives. The awards announced today will fund projects supporting workforce development, small businesses, and entrepreneurship initiatives across eight communities: Barnstable, Boston, Chelsea, Fitchburg, Lawrence, Lowell, Springfield, and Worcester.

“When we empower local leaders and projects that thoughtfully address the unique issues facing our urban centers, we have an outsized impact on the lives of residents,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “The Urban Agenda Grant Program relies on the strong partnerships between local government, non-profits and the business community that are critical to fostering economic success and building stronger neighborhoods in every region in Massachusetts.”

The Urban Agenda Grant Program provides grants to communities working to provide residents with economic opportunities and workforce training. The program prioritizes projects that are based on collaborative work models that feature a strong partnership between community organizations and municipalities. Awards prioritize collaboration, shared accountability and building leadership capacity at the local level.

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Thank You, Jay Ash

Thank You, Jay Ash

When Governor Charlie Baker was elected to his first term of office four years ago, his first major announcement was the appointment of Jay Ash to the post of Secretary of Housing and Economic Development.

The announcement by Gov. Baker, a Republican, came as a surprise to many political insiders because Ash was a lifelong Democrat and at the time was serving as the City Manager for the City of Chelsea, a post he had held for almost 15 years. Moreover, the Secretary of Housing and Economic Development is among the most important members of a governor’s cabinet, and typically goes to a person who is among those most trusted by the governor to implement his broad policy objectives.

However, Ash’s appointment by Gov.-elect Baker signaled two things about the incoming administration: First, that Baker was going to “reach across the aisle” to Democrats and second, that he was seeking the most-qualified persons he could find to serve in his administration.

During the past four years, Charlie Baker’s appointment of Jay Ash, who officially stepped down from his cabinet post in December to become the new president of a nonprofit business group known as the Massachusetts Competitive Partnership, has proven to be a win-win for Gov. Baker — and the people of Massachusetts — on both scores.

Ash, who had served for many years as the chief of staff to former House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Voke, not only knew the ins-and-outs of the legislative process, but also was on a first-name basis with many legislators, most notably House Speaker Bob DeLeo, who played a key role in working with Jay in implementing the many initiatives put forth by the Baker administration.

In addition, Jay Ash brought to the table his experience as the City Manager of Chelsea, a small city that is the prototype for both the potential and pitfalls of economic development of urban areas throughout the state.

During his tenure, Jay Ash brought to fruition many projects that will bring economic benefits for future generations of our state’s residents. Among Ash’s signature accomplishments, he played a key role in bringing the Pawtucket Red Sox to Worcester, which included the redevelopment of the city’s Canal District with $35 million in infrastructure and affordable housing funds; he brought $12.5 million in state funds to the Berkshire Innovation Center, which will focus on life sciences in Pittsfield; he played an integral role in persuading General Electric to locate its world headquarters in Boston’s Seaport District; and he was instrumental in bringing about a significant reduction in the number of homeless families living in motels.

All in all, Jay Ash’s tenure as Secretary of Housing and Economic Development has been among the most successful and remarkable of any Cabinet member of any administration in the state’s history.

We know we speak not only for the residents of his native Chelsea, but also for citizens throughout the state, in thanking Jay Ash for his years of public service and wishing him well in his future endeavors.

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Gov. Baker Re-files Bill to Protect: Communities From Dangerous Individuals

Gov. Baker Re-files Bill to Protect: Communities From Dangerous Individuals

Chelsea Chief Brian Kyes introduced Gov. Charlie Baker to a room of police chiefs from around the state during Tuesday’s meeting of the Massachusetts Major City Chiefs of Police Association. The meeting took place in Everett, and Gov. Baker made a major public safety policy announcement at the gathering in regard to criminal background checks. See Page 5 for more photos.

Standing alongside Chief Brian Kyes, Gov. Charlie Baker on Tuesday re-filed legislation to provide law enforcement and the courts with additional tools to ensure dangerous criminals are held in custody pending trial.

First filed on September 6, 2018, the proposal would expand the list of offenses that can provide grounds for a dangerousness hearing and close certain loopholes at the start and end of the criminal process that currently limit or prevent effective action to address legitimate safety concerns. Governor Baker made the announcement in Everett at the Massachusetts Major City Chiefs of Police Association Meeting, an Association Chief Kyes is the leader of.

“Public safety is a fundamental responsibility of government and in order to fulfill that duty, we must allow local police and district attorneys to effectively deal with people who repeatedly break the law,” said Governor Baker. “Last session we enacted several provisions to ensure that a small lapse in judgment doesn’t ruin a life, and we must now give law enforcement, prosecutors and the courts the tools they need to keep our communities safe. We look forward to working with the Legislature to pass this important bill.”

The proposal will strengthen the ability of judges to enforce the conditions of pre-trial release by empowering police to detain people who they observe violating court-ordered release conditions; current law does not allow this, and instead requires a court to first issue a warrant.

“Loopholes in the current system limit or prevent effective action to address legitimate safety concerns,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “This bill will empower law enforcement with the flexibility and tools they need to protect their communities from dangerous defendants.”

Under this proposal, judges will be empowered to revoke a person’s release when the offender has violated a court-ordered condition, such as an order to stay away from a victim, or from a public playground. Current law requires an additional finding of dangerousness before release may be revoked.

“A defendant’s past criminal history should absolutely be considered as a factor at any such dangerousness hearing rather than just the alleged crime that is currently before the court,” said Kyes, Chelsea Police Chief and President of the Massachusetts Major City Chiefs. “It is essential that in conducting a proper risk analysis in order to determine whether the defendant is to be considered a potential danger to any victim, witness or to the public in general, that their past criminal history – especially as it pertains to previous convictions for violent crimes – is considered and weighed based on its relevancy pertaining to a demonstrated propensity to commit violence. This bill will rectify the existing gap that currently occurs during a dangerousness hearing.”

The legislation also expands the list of offenses which can provide grounds for a dangerousness hearing including crimes of sexual abuse and crimes of threatened or potential violence. It also follows the long-standing federal model in including a defendant’s history of serious criminal convictions as grounds that may warrant a dangerousness hearing. Current law requires courts to focus only on the crime charged and ignore a defendant’s criminal history when determining whether the defendant may be the subject of this sort of hearing.

Additional provisions of this legislation:

•Improves the system for notifying victims of crimes of abuse and other dangerous crimes when a defendant is going to be released by creating clear lines of responsibility among police, prosecutors and corrections personnel to notify victims about an offender’s imminent release from custody, and create a six-hour window for authorities to inform a victim before an offender is allowed to be released.

•Creates a new felony offense for cutting off a court-ordered GPS device.

•Requires that the courts develop a text message service to remind defendants of upcoming court dates, reducing the chance they will forget and have a warrant issued for their arrest.

•Allows dangerousness hearings at any point during a criminal proceeding, rather than requiring a prosecutor to either seek a hearing immediately or forfeit that ability entirely, even if circumstances later arise indicating that the defendant poses a serious risk to the community.

•Requires that the probation department, bail commissioners and bail magistrates notify authorities who can take remedial action when a person who is on pre-trial release commits a new offense anywhere in the Commonwealth or elsewhere.

•Creates a level playing field for appeals of district court release decisions to the superior court by allowing appeals by prosecutors, in addition to defendants, and giving more deference to determinations made in the first instance by our district court judges.

•Creates a task force to recommend adding information to criminal records so that prosecutors and judges can make more informed recommendations and decisions about conditions of release and possible detention on grounds of dangerousness.

The legislation also closes loopholes at the start and end of the criminal process that currently limit or prevent effective action to address legitimate safety concerns. It extends the requirement that police take the fingerprints of people arrested for felonies to all people arrested, regardless of the charge, to ensure that decisions about release can be made with knowledge of a person’s true identity and full criminal history. It also allows, for the first time, bail commissioners and bail magistrates to consider dangerousness in deciding whether to release an arrestee from a police station when court is out of session.

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