Help Change Massachusetts Law and Support Justice/Corrections Systems Reform

Follen’s Social Justice Action Team wants you know:

You may have heard that Massachusetts’ governor, speaker, senate president, and chief justice will JOINTLY file a bill on criminal justice reform when the new, 18-month legislative session opens in January 2017. The proposed legislation will include some of the recommendations of the Council of State Governments (CSG) report on the criminal justice system in the state, which will be released when the bill is filed.

The Good News—This elevates criminal justice reform to being a “must pass” bill situation given the governor, senate president, house speaker, and chief justice are behind it.

The Challenge—The bill they file will likely NOT be strong enough and focus on probation, parole, and recidivism. There are several ways to take action to strengthen the bill so it will support elimination of mandatory minimums for drug crimes, improvement of the CORI law to move things faster through the courts and increase workforce participation, elimination of court fees that trap ex-offenders in poverty, an increase in the felony threshold on larceny to $1,500, and increases in funding for job placement, training, and education. Read more about the Jobs NOT Jails priorities.

Four Things YOU Can Do—Starting Next Week

  1. Monday, December 12: End Mass Incarceration Together (EMIT), a task force of the UU Mass Action Network, is holding a statewide call on Monday, December 12, from 7 to 8 pm, so you can learn more about this critical legislation. Call in: (712) 432-1212. Meeting ID:  351-484-548#
  2. Tuesday, December 13: Show up for a rally and press conference at the Church of the New Jerusalem, 140 Bowdoin St. (near the State House), 10–11 am, when Jobs NOT Jails will have a rally/press conference to call on the four state leaders to include the six proposed bills of the Jobs NOT Jails Coalition.
  3. Contact your legislators and/or come to the Jobs Not Jails Lobby Day in January—ask that they co-sponsor the omnibus criminal justice reform bill, the Justice Reinvestment Act, which will include the Jobs NOT Jails priorities. (Filing deadline is January 20.)
  4. In March 2017, the coalition will organize major public action meetingsin Boston, Brockton, New Bedford, Worcester, Springfield, Lynn, and Lowell to show large-scale public support for major criminal justice reform and engage legislators, mayors, sheriffs, and police chiefs.

Posting assembled from information provided by UU Mass Action. Posting date: 12/08/16