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.
EMIT doesn’t ask for money [we are all-volunteer] during the holidays. Instead, all year round, we ask for a thin slice of your time to add to the chorus in the wave of justice & corrections systems reform in Massachusetts.
With the CSG report due out imminently, take a minute to contact Gov. Charlie Baker and/or Speaker Robert DeLeo and encourage them to adopt justice reinvestment — which means investing in jobs, education, job training and support for small business startups in urban communities hardest hit by mass incarceration.
The theory is to roll over money saved by fewer people behind bars and use it productively to start a new life for formerly incarcerated people.
During this time of hope and celebration, I urge you to think of the 10,000 people in free public housing in our state’s prisons and jails.
We are not the worst offender in the Union for lack of justice, however, there are MANY more reforms possible than covered by the CSG. I urge you to go further and rollover the money saved by incarcerating fewer people, getting rid of the bail system that favors the rich and guilty, and reinvesting it in urban communities hardest hit by incarceration. Please do everything in your power to adopt justice re-investment in the coming legislative session.