Time for Actual Justice in MA Criminal Justice Reform

9/15/2017

The following is a message from Kate Byers and George Oliver, on behalf of the Actual Justice Task Team:

The time to act is NOW!!
Omnibus Bill scheduled to come before the State House this fall needs your support so that justice can be done!!
 
After years of seeking reform in the criminal justice and correctional systems in Massachusetts, legislators and advocates are on the verge of bringing a bill forward that will do just that. A package of comprehensive reforms will come before the legislature most likely before Thanksgiving and we need your help to craft it into a comprehensive, just document.

In keeping with our resolution on Dismantling Discriminatory Systems of Mass Incarceration in Massachusetts in 2015 we are called and empowered to engage this work as members of the Massachusetts Conference, United Church of Christ.

The Actual Justice Task Team of the MACUCC has been working with Ending Mass Incarceration Together (EMIT) and others in the Commonwealth to be a voice in the crafting of this legislation. Now it is time for the State House to hear from you!!!

Members of the Senate will be voting on a package of comprehensive reforms this fall. We need to urge House members to take similar action. The House Co-Chair of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary, Rep. Claire Cronin, D-Brockton, is meeting with every House member to learn what reform they will support. We need to urge our state representatives to push for reform of the Massachusetts justice system.
 
Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? ~ Isaiah 58:6
 
As people of faith, we are called to do all we can to break every yoke of oppression and injustice.  Please join this statewide movement to call your state representative before September 22nd, so Rep. Cronin will hear a mandate from House members, calling for a bold and comprehensive package of judicial and corrections systems reforms.
 
BY SEPTEMBER 22:
Go to www.openstates.org, enter your address to determine your state representative, and get their phone and e-mail information.  Call and ask to speak with your state rep.  If s/he is not available, speak with their aide. Here is the message.

Hello my name is……………..I am a constituent of Rep. ……………   and a member of ______ church of the Massachusetts Conference, United Church of Christ (if applicable). I have been aware for a long time of the need to reform our criminal justice system.  I know there is discussion in this session about voting on legislation that will make badly needed changes in the system.
 
I have heard that the Co-chair of the Judiciary Committee, Clare Cronin, is meeting with each member of the House to discuss areas of reform they will support and what to include in a comprehensive package. In the discussions that Representative (your representatives name) has with Representative Cronin please urge her to be ambitious, to think big, and to develop a comprehensive package that will match the Senate version.

Examples of specific issues that you may want to raise up in one sentence:
“I hope you will pay particular attention to bail reform.”
“I am hopeful that we will end mandatory minimum sentencing.”
“Please ask for reform of the parole board.”
“I believe solitary confinement is inhuman and support House Bills 2248 and 3092.”
"Please ask for expungement and CORI reform as tools for successful re-entry"

The main reason for the call is to ask your state rep to urge Clare Cronin to think big, and to adopt reforms this fall.
  1. The ask:  Can I count on you to do that?
  2. Next, send an email to reinforce your message.
  3. Go to this feedback form to let us know you have connected with your state rep.
For more information on this legislation:

Jobs Not Jails

UU Mass Action

And here is the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization’s explanation of bills and their outcomes.

 
 


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