Massachusetts State Senator Jamie Eldridge [D-Acton] explains how forming a relationship and providing new information from experts can influence a legislator’s position on an issue. The most effective way to end mass incarceration is to meet with your state representative and senator and let them know you support criminal justice reform. Ideally, go with other voters from your district.
Since spring 2018 with the passage of the Omnibus Bill, a 100-plus page bill with dozens of compenents became law, we are focusing on implementation of the bill by the justice and corrections systems, and filling in areas of reform overlooked by the historic bill.
It is key for voters all over the state to keep in touch with their state representative and senator. The 8-minute video below gives an abbreviated example of how to connect with a legislator, described below.
The goals To establish a long-term relationship with one state rep or senator, and invite other constituents to visit, provide information, and attend events. Find out your legislators’ positions on pending bills to reform the Commonwealth’s justice and corrections systems, and five policy areas below.
Determine if your legislators need more information to consider other viewpoints from experts, personal stories and examples of how other jurisdictions handle similar problems. Ideally, you and your lawmaker will share information on upcoming hearings and votes on Beacon Hill.
Determine your lawmakers’ positions on five key policy areas
- Treat drug and alcohol addiction as health problems not as crimes;
- Endorse bail reform and pre-trial practices and procedures to avoid incarceration while awaiting trial;
- End the cruel and unusual punishment of long-term solitary confinement, also known as SHU – Segregated Housing;
- Halt construction of new county jails and state prisons; and
- Support restorative justice to prevent people of all ages from getting caught in the incarceration trap.
Determine your state legislators at this quick easy website: http://openstates.org/find_your_legislator/
See this national resources, the Pretrial Institute. Speakers available to come to your statehouse. Legislator_Info_Sheet Grassroots_legislative liaison guidelines The Pretrial_handout mandatory minimums 1 Mandatory Minimums 2