EMIT — End MAss Incarceration Together is a statewide working group of the Unitarian Universalist Mass Action Network.
EMIT’s motto is Inform to Reform. Once people are informed about the injustice of our judicial and corrections systems, they will inform their state legislators to reform our state laws, through a series of bills over a number of years.
EMIT partners with people to encourage and facilitate face-to-face meetings with state representatives and senators to let them know we are outraged about the over-incarceration of people in America who are more likely to be black, brown, poor, under-educated, mentally ill and have substance abuse problems.
A common faith unites our leaders — Unitarian Universalism, progressive thinkers who act on our beliefs. EMIT is in a coalition of groups in Massachusetts that advocate, inform and act for systematic criminal justice reform now. UUs are the moral compass of Massachusetts, the yeast that foments social justice movements.
There are many spokes in the wheel of justice to big hairy goal of reforming our state’s judicial and corrections systems. Here are the many spokes on the wheel of justice.
- Encourage and insist that the Parole Board and DOC [Department of Corrections] llow terminally ill incarcerated people to be treated at nursing homes instead of state prisons and jails, per the reform bill of 2018.
- Treat addiction as a health problem, not as a crime. Provide treatment instead of incarceration.
- Do not build more new jails or prisons.
- Advocate that incarcerated people are treated humanely while in prison, including limiting solitary confinement to two weeks or less; and providing programming and education to prepare for release.
- Reform the Commonwealth’s bail system to avoid penalizing people because of poverty. Offer pre-trial alternatives to qualified non-violent offenders, instead of incarcerating a person between their arrest and trial. Some 5,000 individuals among the Commonwealth’s 22,000 inmates are incarcerated without having been convicted of any crime. Many do not have the means to make even a small amount of bail.
- Ensure that the Brangden reforms are actively used by judges. This precedent requires judges to set bail according to an individual’s ability to pay it.
- Reform the state’s probation/parole practices, procedures and policies to end the punitive attitude in place since 2010 when a former offender murdered a Woburn police officer while on probation. Ensure that the racial makeup of parole and probation officials reflect the people whom they serve, and that several parole board members have a background in psychology and social work.
- Raise awareness of institutional racism as a root cause of mass incarceration.
- Acknowledge the lack of economic opportunity in many communities that may have led to people to resort to an illegal economy.
- Practice restorative justice when possible in the community, schools and prisons and jails.
- Use drug courts and other alternatives to incarceration.
- Adovcate for young people caught in the system to be treated according to their mental and emotional development, separately from adults.
- Volunteer in prisons and jails to connect with the 2.3 million incarcerated Americans. Offer people hope, caring and a hand up to prepare them for a successful return home, to never return to prison again.
- Your suggestion:
This website is to inspire action and unite activists who are dedicated to ending mass incarceration. We hope Massachusetts will be a beacon to other states to lead the way to end one of the worst injustices of our time. Feel free to use our resources.
Unitarian Universalists come from a variety of faith traditions, including humanism and atheism, as well as former Catholics, Jews, Christians, Buddhists and earth-based spiritualities. UUs must think for ourselves. Debate and honoring differences are central to our way of life. With only about 300,000 world-wide, (half in New England), we tend to have higher education and income levels than other denominations. As long as your beliefs do not hurt anyone else, we embrace most people and their beliefs. We have no dogma. See more here.