14 KEY Amendments & sponsors to H 4011

For all tireless justice and corrections systems advocates, H 4011, An Act to Reform Criminal Justice, is poised to be debated by the Mass. House of Representatives Nov. 12, 13, 14. Here are the latest amendments EMIT is advocating for. You can copy and paste and email to your state rep. Find your state rep here. 

NOW IS THE TIME to email your state rep! Don’t wait. We expect legislators to finalize it by Nov. 17.  Even if you’ve previously contacted your rep, the amendments and sponsors are NEW. Encourage him/her to co-sponsor & support them.

Dear Rep ___,
As your constituent, I urge you to vote for H4011, and to co-sponsor and advocate for the following amendments, to rebuild lives, prevent incarceration, and save money. Justice reform is bi-partisan and the Omnibus Bill offers a huge opportunity for all of us.
 
These amendments would enhance the bill significantly:
 

• Felony larceny threshold – Rep. Linsky:  Taise the level of what constitutes a felony to $1,500 — the level it would almost be if the threshold had kept up with inflation;


• Fines and Fees – Rep. Keefe:  Eliminate parole fees, and also public counsel fees for people who are indigent;

• Justice reinvestment — Rep. O’Day:  Track the savings generated from reducing the prison population, and reinvest half of it in job training, job placement, and other supports to further reduce unemployment and recidivism;

• Juvenile diversion — Rep. Cahill:  Allow statewide pre-arraignment diversion for young people;

 
• Juvenile expungement — Reps. Dykema, Khan and Decker:  Strengthen the House bill’s expungement provisions;  Rep. Khan is filing an amendment to allow some juvenile records to be sealed in 4 years (rather than 10);
 

• Mandatory minimums #1 – Reps. Carvalho and Keefe:  Repeal mandatory minimums for all non-violent drug sentences;

• Mandatory minimums #2 – Reps. Carvalho and Keefe:  Repeal the “school zone” mandatory minimum;

• Medical parole #1 — Rep. Connolly:  Make people with permanent cognitive incapacitation (think dementia) eligible, in keeping with the Senate bill;

• Medical parole #2 — Rep. Connolly:  Lengthen the terminal prognosis from 12 months to 18 months, in keeping with the Senate bill;

• Raise the age of juvenile jurisdiction — Rep. Carvalho and Rep. Khan:  Raise the lower age to 12 and the upper age to 19 ;

 

• Romeo & Juliet — Rep. Lewis:  Don’t prosecute teens who are close in age and engage in consensual sexual activity;

• School-based arrests — Rep. Vega:  Reduce school-based arrests for adolescent misbehavior like disorderly conduct and disturbing an assembly;

 
• Shackling — Rep. Khan:  Codify current court policy prohibiting indiscriminate shackling of juveniles;
 
• Solitary — Rep. Balser:  Further limit the use of solitary confinement and provide data on its use.
​Sincerely,
Your name & address
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2 thoughts on “14 KEY Amendments & sponsors to H 4011

  1. pquirion

    FELONY LARCENY ALERT. AIM (Assoc. Industries of MA) and the retail group are making the rounds to oppose increasing felony threshold. The email said the cost of living is a prime argument to make when calling, but it is not because the $250 amount set in 1987 was too low and some inflation calculators get you figures that are below $1500 for 2017. When you call your rep to amendment 3 (Rep. Day) , 89 (rep. Linsky and others) and 199,200, 202, and 204 from Rep. Tyler, here are what I think are better arguments to focus on instead (and fact sheets attached) :

    1. With a $250 threshold, MA is an outlier nationally with 3rd lowest in the country and the lowest threshold in New England. A low threshold is unjust because it captures too many low level offenses and makes felons of countless people, including young people and vulnerable populations with addictions. Any felony on one’s CORI carries a heavy stigma and stops people from getting jobs.

    1. The $750 threshold in the house bill (like the current $250 amount) is too low and would keep us in the bottom tier of the country and needs to be raised to $1500 or more.

    1. Comparable New England states with urban populations are Connecticut ($2000) and Rhode Island ($1500). Lots of $ states have 1500 thresholds or higher. $1500 in Delaware, Georgia, Kansas, Maryland, Montana, Nebraska, RI and Utah; $2000 in Colorado, Connecticut, PA and So. Carolina; and $2500 in Texas and Wisconsin.

    1. The threshold only gets raised every 30 or 40 years so we need to enact a threshold of $1500 or more that will not be quickly outdated.

    1. The Pew study showed raising the threshold does not increase crime. Florida has a low $350 threshold and higher larceny rates than PA which has a $2000 threshold. MA last raised its threshold in 1987 and crime is down since then.

    6. It strains credibility to claim that people will fine-tune shoplifting to an amount below the threshold, especially if they are abusing alcohol or other substances. Most people do not know the amount of the felony threshold.

    7. There is no incentive to commit crime if the threshold is increased. Jail sentences remain and some fines are increased. The bill does not change warrantless arrest in current law for shoplifting (G.L. c. 266, § 30A).

    Reply

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