“This is significant because low level trafficking offenses outnumber all other drug offenses that require mandatory prison sentences. Plus, “trafficking” is such a loaded word. It’s usually associated with kingpins and violence, even though statistics show that our trafficking laws sweep up many low level nonviolent drug offenders.
“That’s not surprising, seeing as Massachusetts defines “trafficking” as the sale of as little as 2 to 3 tablespoons of hard drugs. Worse, requiring prison sentences for addicts who commit low level drug crimes, rather than sending them to no nonsense treatment programs, prevents us from effectively addressing the opioid crisis.”
Dear Attorney General Healey,
I am an activist to reform our state’s judicial and corrections systems through a series of bills passed over a number of years.
Given your campaign promises, I was disappointed to learn in your letter to the Judiciary Committee that you no longer support the repeal of mandatory minimums forall drug offenses.
I agree that major drug kingpins should be incarcerated. Unfortunately, the threshold for “trafficking” in Massachusetts is so low that many people convicted under trafficking laws are often addicts who sell to support their addiction. Such people fill our prisons. Many leave their families stranded, dependent on public assistance.
Please uphold your campaign platform that we need to treat addiction like a health problem not a crime. End mandatory minimum sentencing to give judges the authority to determine punishment — or medical treatment.
I urge you to uphold your campaign pledge and lend support to end mandatory minimums for all drug offenses. It will save lives and save the Commonwealth money in the long haul.