Tag Archives: ACLU

Crystal Mason thought she had the right to vote. Texas sentenced her to five years in prison for trying.

Crystal Mason, incarcerated in Texas for five years for accidentally voting when she was not eligible. Please sign the ACLU petition to gain her release and support the lawsuit filed by the ACLU.

Crystal Mason, an African American mother of three from Texas, did her civic duty and filled out a provisional* ballot in the 2016 election. Mason was on federal supervised release, for offenders recently released from prison, who, unbeknownst to her, were barred from voting. A judge sentenced her to five years imprisonment, and the ACLU is suing for her release.

Go here to sign a petition to support her release and protest the unfair, racist punishment https://tinyurl.com/MasonVotes, an excellent example of how the American justice system over-incarcerates, and picks on people who are least able to defend themselves.

After release from prison, Mason had started her own business while holding a full-time job, going to school and taking care of her three children, and four additional children. When she went back in prison, others had to take care of the seven children and teenagers, placing a burden on social services and others.

Contrast Mason’s story with a white woman in Iowa, Terri Lynn Rote, convicted of voter fraud after purposely trying to cast a ballot for Trump twice, who was sentenced to 2 years probation and a $750 fine.

In 2019, a white Republican justice of the peace in Tarrant County, Texas, pled guilty to submitting fake signatures to secure a place on a primary ballot and was sentenced to five years’ probation.

But Mason, a black woman who successfully rebuilt her life after prison, is in prison for five years committing an honest harmless mistake, and a ballot that wasn’t even counted. Please sign the petition now https://tinyurl.com/MasonVotes.

For details of Mason’s trial, visit the ACLU website.

*A provisional ballot on Election Day is used to record a vote when there are questions about a given voter’s eligibility that must be resolved before the vote can count.

Philly shows how a District Attorney influences delivery of “justice”

A new district attorney in Philadelphia, Larry Krasner, is following through on his campaign promises to stem the flow of people into prison by decriminalizing poverty and addiction, for starters.  See more at this SLATE article below. Art is courtesy of SLATE.com.

EMIT and the ACLU of Massachusetts and others are working together to bring new district attorney candidates to Massachusetts. We need to get rid of the old guard and bring in the new in our 11 district attorney races [for 14 counties].



FREE event 6/16 at Harvard Law on redefining prosecutor’s role

prosecutor's role in Massachusetts

Friday, June 16, 20179:30am4:30pm
Wasserstein Hall, Harvard Law School, Cambridge, MA

Join the Houston Institute and the ACLU for a daylong conference at Harvard Law School titled: “Redefining the Role of the Prosecutor within the Community.”

Prosecutors are key actors within our current justice system and possess an enormous amount of discretion about who is charged, for what, and the severity of the sentence received. Additionally, prosecutors wield power in state legislatures, in determining how tax dollars are spent, and in prioritizing rehabilitation or retribution in these decisions.

Yet, we know surprisingly little about how these decisions are made, why, and the pressures and incentives that inform prosecutorial actions and cultures. In the past several years, grassroots organizations, justice reform advocates and scholars have taken a more critical look at the role of prosecutors in building historic rates of incarceration, and have begun to define a more expansive set of metrics for measuring their performance.

In the morning, we will identify and discuss new models for prosecution and hear from former prosecutors about their experiences and insights. We will then hear brief presentations from economist John Pfaff about his research regarding the impact of prosecutorial decisions on incarceration rates, and from Measures for Justice on new ways to measure “justice outcomes” within a community. Our afternoon panel and ensuing discussion will focus on creating and implementing models for community engagement and oversight.

Confirmed speakers/organizations include:

  • Adam Foss
  • John Pfaff, Author of Locked In: The True Causes of Mass Incarceration and How to Achieve Real Reform
  • Measures for Justice
  • Miriam Krinsky, Fair and Just Prosecution
  • Color Of Change
  • PICO

This event will be free and open to the public. More details to come!