Tag Archives: massachusetts

ACTION ALERT: make a call for Parole Board diversity

Background

Gov. Baker nominated on Jan. 2 the Parole Board’s General Counsel, Gloriann Moroney, to fill Lucy Soto Abbe’s seat, who served on the Parole Board since 2010. Prior to coming to the Board as General Counsel in Jan. 2016, Moroney was an Assistant District Attorney in Suffolk County for 14 years.

The Coalition for Effective Public Safety (CEPS is a meta-group of activists and advocacy agencies) has long advocated for a parole board member with experience in social work, mental health, and substance abuse disorder.

We are calling on YOU to speak out for the appointment of a board member with a psych background so that the Board can better assess candidates who come before them, including many with mental health and addiction issues. 

Five current members of the Parole Board have law enforcement backgrounds which limit the range of perspectives to fairly judge parole applicants.

There are other problems with Moroney’s nomination.

·        She oversees a Board that  does not have a healthy paroling rate;

·        Prisoners with life sentences must wait eight to 10 months for parole decisions;

·        The Board has not recommended one person for commutation or pardon since Moroney became General Counsel, much less in the past year since Ms. Moroney became executive director and general counsel; 

·        The Board has not acted on a single petition for commutation since she became Counsel; and 

·        Too many people are returning to prison on technical violations rather than receiving intermediate sanctions, and so we needlessly fill our prisons and create more harm.

In her testimony given Wednesday, Moroney would not promise to serve out the five year appointment, and would not answer the question, “Do you want to become a judge?” The conclusion could be made that Moroney may use the Parole Board role as a stepping stone to a judgeship.

PLEASE take action by Tuesday at 5 pm

CEPS asks you call to your Governor’s Councilor (which appoints Parole Board members) before Weds. Jan. 16, when they will vote on Moroney’s nomination. 

Here are talking points for your councilor

Our present Parole Board has five members who have worked in law enforcement, parole, as attorneys, or in corrections, with only one member, Dr. Charlene Bonner, with experience and training in psychology. 

We have no Parole Board members with experience and training in psychiatry, sociology or social work.

 I oppose Moroney’s nomination because to fairly judge the parole applicants, the Board needs more balance in their training and experience, outside of law enforcement.

Because she does take ownership of her role at the Board and supervises seriously flawed practices—low paroling rate, too many re-incarcerations, not acting on commutations, unconscionable delays in lifer decisions—I ask you to vote against Gloriann Moroney’s nomination for parole board.

Find your Governor’s Councillor here:  https://www.mass.gov/service-details/councillors

 Find your district here: http://www.sec.state.ma.us/ele/eledist/counc11idx.htm 

​THANK YOU VERY MUCH on behalf of CEPS, the Massachusetts Coalition for Effective Public Safety, a group of individual activists and advocacy agencies.

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BU offers free legal counsel for incarcerated terminally ill people

                           

Incarcerated people who are terminally ill or permanently incapacitated can access free representation from the Compassionate Release legal clinic staffed by Boston University School of Law students until June 2019.

Founded and operated by Ruth Greenberg, the goal of the clinic is to provide free legal counsel for every terminally ill, or permanently incapacitated, inmate to insure he or she has an advocate to be released from prison.

“Terminal illness,” as defined in the new Criminal Justice Reform Act, is a diagnosis of likely to die in 18 months. “Permanent incapacitation” means physically or cognitively so debilitated as to not pose a public safety risk.

If you know an inmate that could benefit from clinic representation at no cost, please help the inmate contact Ruth Greenberg, 450b Paradise Rd 166, Swampscott MA 01907, telephone 781-632-5959, ruthgreenberg44@aol.com. 

Please see this LINK for more information. Massachusetts is one of the last states to provide medical release for people who are debilitated in prison.

  at the address or phone below for these free services.

How to take small actions to make a big push for justice for all in Massachusetts

CourtWatch Data Entry Party – Volunteers Needed! 
When: Sun Oct 21, 2:00 – 5:00 PM
When:  Harvard Law, Austin Hall 111 West, Cambridge

Volunteers are needed for data entry.  The qualitative data from court watch needs to be entered into the database.  Volunteers are asked to bring their laptop to this event
More Info, Contact CourtWatch MA at mailto:info@courtwatchma.org

RSVP HERE

  
Worcester and Plymouth County are the focus of the general election in November

Worcester:         Joe Early (D, Incumbent) and Blake Rubin (unenrolled)
Click to learn more about these candidates

Plymouth:          Timothy Cruz (R, Incumbent) and John Bradley (D)
Click to learn more about these candidates

Suffolk:                Rachel Rollins (D) and Michael Mahoney (I)
Click to learn more about these candidates


Plymouth County:  Pre-Election Canvass and Training
When: Sat Nov 3, 11:00 – 3:30 PM
Where: Brockton, location TBD  (will be in downtown area)

Join the #DADifference canvass team for a brief training before you head out to provide info about the election and encourage people to vote.  We need a big turnout for this event! You’ll be paired with a partner – it’s no problem if you’re not from the area.

More Info    RSVP HERE


Worcester County: Public Education Forum
When: Tue Oct 16, 5:30 – 7:00 PM
Where: YWCA, 1 Salem St., Worcester
Co-Sponsors: ACLU MA, ACLU Smart Justice and #DADifference

Learn about the impact district attorneys have on your community and why it is important to participate in the Worcester County District Attorney election on November 6. It’s time to use our voices – and our vote – to make our criminal legal system fairer for everyone.   FLYER


Worcester County: DA Candidate Debate
When: Mon Oct 22, 6:00 – 8:00 PM
Where: Worcester State University, 486 Chandler St., Worcester
Co-Sponsors:  League of Women Voters, NAACP and MA Women of Color Coalition and
#DADifference

Hear from candidates Joe Early (D)  and Blake Rubin (I)
Find more info HERE


Pre-Election Canvass & Training
When: Sat Oct 27, 11:00 – 3:30 PM
Where: Stone Soup, 4 King St., Worcester
Register HERE     More Info

Join the #DADifference canvass team for a brief training before you head out to provide info about the election and encourage people to vote.  We need a big turnout for this event! You’ll be paired with a partner – it’s no problem if you’re not from the area.

THANKS to Laura Wagner, EMIT core co-founder and director of Unitarian Universalist Mass Action, for writing up these opportunities.

Get informed for Sept. 4 primary for district attorney

The Sept. 4, 2018 primary will likely determine the next Middlesex and Suffolk District Attorneys.  District attorneys have a HUGE role in influencing who gets prosecuted for what, and the punishment. Unfortunately, the district attorney’s role is often under the radar.
The Middlesex and Suffolk County district attorneys will likely be determined on the Sept. 4, 2018 primary.
Some 400 people attended the Middlesex County District Attorney and District 3 Governor’s Council debate July 24. Watch Arlington cable TV’s excellent recording of the Middlesex debate here.

The Suffolk County debate for District Attorney can be seen on Facebook

HELP spread the word about the opportunity we have on Sept. 4 to influence who gets prosecuted for what crimes in Middlesex and Suffolk counties.
You could invite friends to a group viewing in your home to watch the debate together and talk about it.
Ask if your local municipal television station is carrying the debate, and if not ask them to do so.
You could team up with a group to host a public viewing and discussion.  Please share a link to this post to educate people.
Anything you do will be appreciated.
Both Middlesex County candidates are Democrats, so the primary election will be decisive.  Five of the six candidates in Suffolk County are Democrats, and whoever wins the primary will go on to face an independent challenger in November. There are no Republicans are in this race.
The eight members of the Governor’s Council race is another “under the radar” way to influence the public process. They approve the Governor’s commutations and pardons, and nominations to judges, clerk-magistrates, public administrators, members of the parole board and more.
THANKS for caring and taking action of any size, including forwarding this post to friends and activists to encourage them to VOTE on Sept. 4.

A landmark decision on 50th year remembrance of Martin Luther King

Great news!  Yesterday the state Senate voted unanimously for the conference committee

end mass incarceration; MLK legacy; bail reform; felony threshold

Martin Luther King Jr was honored yesterday by the Mass. Statehouse when it passed its Omnibus Bill to reform the commonwealth’s justice and corrections systems. The bill is awaiting action by Gov. Charlie Baker.

version of the criminal justice omnibus bill, and then the House voted for it 148-5.  This is fabulous!  Thank you to everyone who helped make this happen.

The next step is to get Gov. Baker to sign the bill — not send it back with amendments.
Please contact Gov. Baker in whichever of the following ways you prefer, ask him to sign the criminal justice omnibus bill without amendments, and perhaps include 1-2 sentences about why this bill is important to you (either particular provisions you care about, or that it will promote justice and compassion and true public safety, or whatever feels right to you):
+  Call his office at 617-725-4005
+  Use the webform at http://www.mass.gov/governor/constituent-services/contact-governor-office/  (ignore the “old website” warning)
+  Email his Legislative Director Kaitlyn Sprague at Kaitlyn.Sprague@state.ma.us or constituent serivices director Mindy D’Arbeloff at mindy.darbeloff@state.ma.us
+  Tweet @CharlieBakerMA
Also — Passing a bill doesn’t mean we’re done!  Laws matter, but what people are doing matters too.
The Mass Bail Fund and What a Difference a DA Makes campaign are seeking court watchers — people who get some training, commit to going to a courthouse at least three mornings in three months, and collect information that will help hold judges and prosecutors accountable.
No experience is necessary.  Some of the people receiving this email have had altogether too much experience with courtrooms, while for others this is an excellent opportunity to learn and grow personally while helping the movement.  Everyone is welcome!
The Suffolk County training will be this Sunday, April 84-6:30 p.m. at the First Baptist Church (633 Centre Street in Jamaica Plain).  Trainings for Plymouth, Hampton, and Essex Counties are scheduled for April 22May 6, and May 20.  If you live in Middlesex County, which is not one of the counties we’re focusing on, please consider helping out in Suffolk, Essex, or Worcester County.  You don’t have to attend the training in the same county where you do your court watching.
If you have some mornings free and can help in this way, please learn more and register at www.courtwatchma.org .
And may we all help keep alive Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s vision of a world where people have quelled the triple evils of racism, militarism, and excessive materialism, and everyone has justice, peace, and the material and spiritual foundations of a good life.
Lori Kenschaft 

NEW INFO: Omnibus Bill may come out of conference committee on Friday, 3/23

​TENTATIVE ACCORD REACHED ON GAME-CHANGING CRIMINAL JUSTICE BILL

By Matt Murphy
STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE

STATE HOUSE, BOSTON, MARCH 21, 2018….The six House and Senate lawmakers negotiating a complex overhaul of the state’s sentencing and criminal justice laws have reached a tentative agreement that is expected to be finalized before the end of the week, according to multiple sources.

The conference committee, led by Sen. William Brownsberger and Rep. Claire Cronin, has been privately negotiating the details of the bill since November.

The competing House and Senate bills (H 4043/S 2200) broadly seek to raise the age of juvenile court jurisdiction to encompass 18-year-olds, repeal some mandatory minimums for drug offenses, address the use of solitary confinement and give judges greater leeway in sentencing street level drug-dealers.

Passage of a criminal justice bill in the coming weeks would mark a major accomplishment for lawmakers before they head into the state budget cycle. The emergence of a final legislative compromise could also make clear possible areas of policy differences between lawmakers and Gov. Charlie Baker.

House Majority Leader Ronald Mariano, one of the three House conferees, confirmed to the News Service that the group was nearing a final compromise.

“Things are progressing and there is reason to be optimistic that it will be resolved by the end of the week,” the Quincy Democrat said Wednesday.

Several other sources at the State House told the News Service Wednesday that copies of the finalized bill were being circulated among legal counsel for review, and the conference report could be signed by the conferees and filed with the Senate clerk’s office by Friday.

Brownsberger did not return a message left on his cellphone on Wednesday.

Gov. Charlie Baker was in Haverhill on Tuesday with a collection of local law enforcement officials and district prosecutors urging the House and Senate to use the criminal justice bill as a vehicle to tweak the state’s three-year-old fentanyl trafficking law to make it more enforceable by prosecutors.

Criminal justice reform advocates will also be watching closely to see how the Legislature approaches mandatory minimum sentencing for drug offenses.

Details of the tentative compromise were not immediately available on Wednesday.

Other lawmakers on the conference committee include Rep. Sheila Harrington, a Republican, and Sens. Cynthia Creem and Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr.

-END-
03/21/2018


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