Thanks to the continued actions of voters, Massachusetts state legislators are poised to take a giant step toward comprehensive justice and corrections systems reform by their Nov. 17, 2017 recess.
The state Senate passed an omnibus bill, S. 2185, on Oct. 27 contatining a series of reforms. The House introduced its own version, H 4011, An Act To Reform Criminal Justice this week, and they are expected to debate it Nov. 14 or 15.
The burning actions to take are:
- Call and email your state rep AGAIN ! and remind him/her you support the SENATE version of reform, which covers more ground, and ask them to vote for amendments to strengthen the House version.
Ask like-minded friends to do the same- forward the note below. Identify your state rep & contact info here.
- Storm the Statehouse in person wearing buttons, t-shirts and stickers to broadcast your position.
There are several options. summary of House justice reform bill
- Weds. Nov. 8“Raise the Age Lobby Day”. Join young people of I Have a Future at 3 p.m.at the State House grand staircase. https://www.facebook.com/events/776630415841283/
- Monday, Nov 13, Greater Boston Interfaith Organization (GBIO)rally for comprehensive criminal justice reform, 1 p.m.at the State House grand staircase.
- HIGHLY RECOMMENDED:Nov 14 or 15, attend debates in the House of Representatives to amend and discuss the particulars. Legislators want to see supporters in attendance. The sessions usually start at 11 am or 1 pm. More to come on specifics.
Some aspects of the House bill we would like to see strengthened to be in line with the Senate version:
- Raise the felony threshold to $1500. The House proposed it to be $750. It was last set in the 1980s at $250.
- Allow greater permisiveness for juveniles to avoid incarceration, and to expunge their records.
- Include the Romeo and Juliet clause to decriminalize sex between minors of the same age.
- Provide pre-trial services and eliminate incarcerating people between arrest and trial because of poverty.
Here is an email to share with like-minded friends. THANKS for taking action. See you when we STORM THE STATEHOUSE next week.
STORM THE STATEHOUSE email to forward
Please call your state rep before Nov. 13 to encourage him or her to support H4011, An Act Relative to Criminal Justice Reform. We are exhilarated to be on the cusp of giant steps of reform with the Omnibus Bill, the culmination of more than five years of baby steps.
Please share this email with like-minded friends anywhere in Massachusetts to encourage them to call and email their state representatives. The state Senate passed a stronger version of the Omnibus Bill on Oct. 27.
Attached is an info sheet with details on the House version of the bill.
Identify and optain contact info for your state rep here: https://openstates.org/
Please call, re-call and email your rep. If you get voice mail, ask for a return call from the rep and/or aide.
Here are talking points.
“My name is _____. I am a constituent of Rep._____. I am calling to urge Rep._____ to support H 4011, An Act to Reform Criminal Justice, during the House debate next week. This Omnibus Bill will bring much needed, long overdue, comprehensive reform to our state’s justice and corrections systems.”
“Activists and legislators have campaigned for reform for more than five years, to reduce the number of incarcerated people, to insure humane treatment while incarcerated, and to reduce recidivism.”
“Please support amendments that would more closely align the Senate and House versions of the bill.”
“Now is the time for reform. Many people believe that the system wastes too much money and destroys too many lives.”
“I will be watching to see how Rep. ____ votes on this bill, and share that information with my circle of friends in town. Thank you.”