Boston Mayor Thomas Menino asked the state of Massachusetts for $15 million to handle a potential influx to the city of hundreds of inmates whose convictions may be undone by alleged evidence tampering at a state drug testing laboratory, reports the Boston Globe. Menino said the city believes the state has a duty to help cover the costs that are expected to grow out of the scandal centering on former state chemist Annie Dookhan, whom officials fear may have tainted 60,000 drug samples involving 34,000 cases.
Boston anticipates that some 600 people will be returning to the community earlier than expected, and that the city is concerned about the impact they will have on the crime rate, rental housing, demand for emergency shelter, and the cost of job training and mental health counseling, among other issues. Many of the inmates who may be freed in the coming days have long histories of violence and drug trafficking, police and prosecutors say. Officials are meeting today with sentenced inmates who may soon have their sentences stayed, have their convictions overturned completely, or be freed on much lower bail amounts than initially imposed. More than 20 people, most of whom are currently incarcerated in a maximum security prison, are asking to at least have their state prison sentences put on hold — or “stayed” in legal terms — while the state investigation into Dookhan's alleged misdeeds continue.