A special commission investigating ways to eliminate structural racism in the Massachusetts probation system held its 11th and final public meeting Wednesday as it works toward an end-of-year deadline to produce recommendations.

The commission, co-chaired by Rep. Tram Nguyen and Sen. Jamie Eldridge, was created by the 2020 police reform law and tasked with studying the treatment of people of color in the probation process and the role structural racism plays in disparities that exist.

“My hope is that everything we’ve discussed will lead to a strong probation service,” Nguyen said as she wrapped up the final public meeting. Recommendations from commissioners and any additional public testimony is due by Nov. 24, according to the chairs. The panel will then work to pull together a report and recommendations, including any necessary legislation, based on the input it has received from stakeholders. The law that created the Commission on Structural Racism in the Massachusetts Probation Service included a deadline of Sept. 30 for a final report from the group, but that deadline was recently extended by the Legislature until the end of the year. Commissioner of Probation Ed Dolan said his agency submitted a five-page memo laying out its recommendations, and he detailed some of the various steps and projects already underway to improve diversity, equity and inclusivity within the system.

Dolan said the department has worked with the Trial Court to make language services for non-English speakers more available, and has recommended steps to improve workforce development and make sure that the agency is contracting with outside vendors that value diversity.

The commissioner also said he was recommending an internship program for young adults to expose them to the work of the Probation Service and change negative perceptions of the system as one focused on incarceration, rather than social work. Eldridge said he hoped the final report would not only recommend action steps for probation officials to take, but also recognize the work underway.

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