Tag Archives: prison justice

A must-see solitary drama, free

mariposa_artThe longer I’m in this movement, the more I learn about every aspect of prison life. Solitary, SHU [special housing unit], the hole, the box, or whatever you call it, is not much of a life. Deprived of most sensory experiences in life and often with the only regular human contact, antagonistic, outside of your door, solitary can drive a sane person mad, and a mad person to self-destruction and deeper madness.

The public is invited to view a powerful informative 45 minute play that dramatizes these realities, based on the letters of a woman in solitary for nearly three years.

It will be performed Thursday, March 24, 8 pm, at the Milford Performing Arts Center, 150 Main St., Milford. Admission is free, donations accepted. Reserve free tickets here: http://tinyurl.com/Mariposa-MASS

Other performances in the Boston area are as follows: Wednesday, March 23, 7 pm at the Jacob Sleeper Auditorium, lower level, Room 129, 871 Commonwealth Ave., Boston; Friday, March 25, 8 pm, Suffolk University Law School, 120 Tremont St., Boston; and Saturday, March 26, 6:45 pm, First Church in Roxbury, 10 Putnam St., Roxbury. For information, go to http://www.juliasteeleallen.com/portfolio/mariposa/

The play is co-sponsored by Prisoners Legal Services, Coalition for Effective Public Safety, EMIT, End Mass Incarceration Together, a task force of UU Mass Action Network and host venues. For information, contact emit.susan@gmail.com or Susan Tordella at 978-772-3930. More information on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/170428996672052/

The shows are part of a week-long series of events to raise awareness about the inhumanity of being confined in a sterile environment the size of an elevator or parking space, for months, years and decades. The USA boasts an estimated 80,000 people in solitary. Because of the veil of secrecy shrouding most prisons, the true number is unknown.

 

 

 

Justice in Mass. — one step at a time

Luckily, when we’re opposing a bill, it takes many steps to become law. Right now the Mass. legislature is heating up for the end of the session July 31 and approving the state budget, so the pot is boiling over with legislators pushing laws through.

We must stop H4184 in its tracks. This dastardly bill, which puts more people in prison needlessly, for longer, passed the House. We must call and email and visit lawmakers to prevent it from being heard in the Senate. Here’s what to do, and who to call, thank to activists Patty Garin and Jean Trounstine.

The Massachusetts Senate has still not met concerning H.4184.  And we do not have a definitive day the bill will be heard. We are facing a crisis in Massachusetts juvenile sentencing and parole policies. We need your help!

Public pressure helps, we know that, and so far we have done well, but we need to keep it up!  THIS IS A CRUCIAL TIME FOR JUVENILE JUSTICE. We are once again asking those of you who have not called to please do so this week. Those who have called, please follow up with emails.

PLEASE TAKE ACTION NOW.

THIS ACT CONCERNS JUVENILE SENTENCING AND PAROLE SETBACKS FOR ALL LIFERS. H.4184 would thwart the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court’s ruling that sentencing children to life in prison violates the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights. The bill would require that a juvenile convicted of murder (other than “felony-murder”) serve a minimum of 25 years before becoming eligible for consideration for parole; juveniles convicted of felony murder would serve a minimum of 20 years. This bill would result in de facto life sentences for young people.

Also, H.4184 bill would allow the Parole Board to impose a 10-year wait – double the current 5-year setback – before an individual who has been denied parole can go before the board again. THIS UNPRECEDENTED TEN YEAR SETBACK APPLIES TO ALL PERSONS SERVING LIFE SENTENCES – THOSE SENTENCED AS ADULTS AS WELL AS THOSE SENTENCED AS JUVENILES.

CONTACT YOUR OWN SENATOR https://bitly.com/yourMAlegislators at the State House or in their district offices AND MAKE AT LEAST THREE OTHER CALLS, with this message:

WE WANT 15/5 and WE OPPOSE H.4184:
1.   Youth should have an initial opportunity to seek parole no later than *15 YEARS* into their sentence.
2.   Everyone should be eligible for further parole hearings, if needed, no later than every *5 YEARS*. Remember eligibility does not guarantee parole only opportunity.

CALL
Senate Judiciary Chair, William Brownsberger (D., Belmont): 617-722-1280William.Brownsberger@masenate.gov

Senate Chair of Ways & Means, Stephen Brewer (D. Barre): 617-722-1540Stephen.Brewer@masenate.gov

Senate President Therese Murray (D. Plymouth): 617-722-1500Therese.Murray@masenate.gov

Majority Leader Stanley C. Rosenberg (D. Amherst): 617-722-1532Stan.Rosenberg@masenate.gov

We hope many you will CALL and EMAIL to urge Senate leadership to reject these extreme sentencing and parole provisions. There will be more info as we hear about it but for now PLEASE ACT THIS WEEK — of July 1, 2014.

 

Rep. Niki Tsongas hosts Third District Day

That’s Rep. Niki Tsongas, right, with me, prison reform advocate Susan Tordella, left, April 7 at an opening reception with about 50 other people from Massachusetts who came to D.C. for the event. It was an opportunity to hear from many of our congressional representatives, including Senators Markey and Warren, as well as several representatives such as Capuano and Neal. Some of them had stronger awareness than others about the USA as the top-incarcerating nation in the world. The follow up is to send copies of “The New Jim Crow” by Michelle Alexander to all 11 Massachusetts congressional representatives.