Fearing potential release of hundreds of convicted criminals, Boston officials announced immediate plans to put more specialized police units on the streets, saying the deepening fallout from suspected evidence tampering at a state lab demands aggressive action, the Boston Globe reports. Officials said “crisis reentry” teams of police, probation officers, and street workers will work with freed offenders to help them reenter society and send a message of “zero tolerance” for criminal activity.
“These are not low-level drug users,” Suffolk District Attorney Daniel Conley said. “These are people with violent histories across the board, who are trafficking large amounts of drugs. This is a tough group of people.” More than 500 prisoners convicted in Suffolk County, many with long histories of drug-dealing and violence, could have their convictions stayed or revoked and be set free. At least 100 federal cases could be affected. The cases involved evidence tested by Annie Dookhan, the former state chemist who has allegedly admitted to mishandling drug evidence for the last two or three years. Even cases in which she may not have personally tested the evidence are being challenged.