Jobs NOT Jails Action Alerts
Join Jobs NOT Jails in lobbying legislators to pass bills that are our priorities and also lobby for other changes that reduce incarceration, promote access to jobs, and support individuals and families affected by the criminal justice system.
JOBS NOT JAILS ACTION ALERT
Please call your state senator and rep and ask them to work hard to pass the bills listed below.
To find you legislator, go to https://malegislature.gov/Search/FindMyLegislator.
Eliminate Use of Juvenile Cases as Predicate Offenses for Mandatory Minimum Sentences
SD94/HD1228: An Act to prevent the imposition of mandatory minimum sentences based on juvenile adjudications. Sen. Will Brownsberger, Rep. Liz Miranda. This bill prohibits use of juvenile cases as predicate offenses that trigger later mandatory minimum sentences. The brain is not fully developed until about age 25, and youth of color, including many LGBT youth, are disparately involved in the juvenile justice system. In 2018, the SJC suggested the Legislature review the wisdom of allowing juvenile cases trigger mandatory minimum sentences.
Reduce Recidivism by Prison Staff Training and Greater Access to Visits and Calls
SD690/HD3636: An Act reducing recidivism and promoting family relationships during incarceration. Rep. Liz Malia, Sen. Harriet Chandler. Studies show visitation reduces recidivism, increases positive outcomes, and reduces violence Requires training of jail and prison staff on the importance of visits to those who are incarcerated and training on how to promote safety and positively interact with families and visitors to encourage visits.
SD888/HD3024/SD1741: An Act relative to inmate telephone calls/An Act relative to inmate telephone service for inmates/An Act relative to inmate telephone rates. Sen. Will Brownsberger, Rep. Chynah Tyler, Sen. Mark Montigny. SD 888 provides for free calls. The other bills also address present exorbitant phone rates.
HD3011/SD2137: An Act to strengthen inmate visitation. Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, Rep. Marjorie Decker. Eliminate overly broad restrictions on visitation. Studies show visits reduce recidivism and lead to better outcomes. The present system thwarts visitation and makes it easy to lose connections important for rehabilitation and re-entry.
End Violence, Trauma and Injuries Related to Incarceration
SD2050/HD2372/HD2956: An Act to create uniform standards in use of force, increase transparency, and reduce harm/ An Act to reduce harm by creating baseline standards for use of force by K9’s in correctional facilities. Sen. Michael Barrett, Rep. Mary Keefe, Rep. Tram Nguyen. Creates uniform standards for use of force and K-9’s and reporting on use of force against individuals who are incarcerated
Promote Access to Jobs and Eliminate Unfair Job Disqualifications and Unfair Debt
H3637: An Act promoting family stability by further reforming criminal offender record information, increasing access to employment and preventing unfair accrual of debt. Rep. Liz Malia. This bill increases access to jobs by: (a) stopping unfair disqualification of countless drivers from Uber and transportation network jobs based on criminal cases that ended favorably in dismissals; (b) amending the casino-gaming law to eliminate disqualification of job applicants based on felony theft convictions because many workers have such convictions on their records because the Mass. felony larceny threshold was $250 for many decades and made felons of countless people, including young adults and those with substance use issues, for what were low level offenses; (c) providing those who are incarcerated with information to preserve their right to request a reduction in child support orders while they are incarcerated to avoid racking up massive child support debt owed to the state that they have no ability to pay.
End Ineffective Sentencing, Rupture of Families, Use of Jail as a Substitute for Treatment Provide Judicial Discretion and Repeal Mandatory Minimum Sentences
SD1727/SD254: An Act relative to probation violations. Sen. Cynthia Creem, Sen. Will Brownsberger. A judge has discretion to suspend a criminal sentence and allow a person to serve a term of probation instead, but an anomaly in the law requires that if probation is revoked due to violation of a condition of probation, the judge has no discretion but to impose the original suspended sentence even if the new offense is very minor. Our state law should be more like the federal law that permits judges to use appropriate discretion. These bills would amend the law to provide for judicial discretion when incarceration is not a just result and is unwarranted.
SD1722/SD582: An Act to eliminate mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses. Sen. Cynthia Creem, Sen. Joseph Boncore. This bill would further repeal the failed war on drugs policy of mandatory minimum sentences not yet repealed for drug offenses. Research shows that mandatory minimum sentences have no real effect on crime rates and that Black and Hispanic individuals receive more of these sentences. Prison also is an inappropriate setting for drug treatment, and incarcerating drug users and low-level drug dealers does nothing to deter crime or the flow of drugs. Over a million black children in the U.S. have a father in prison. Children with a parent in prison are seven times more likely to spend time in prison themselves. Keeping families together and increasing the chances of success for vulnerable children and families is critically important, but mandatory minimums tie the hands of judges and increase chances that families will be torn apart and children put at risk.
Fix the Expungement Law to Give More Youth Second Chances and Career Choices
SD1908/HD3449: An Act relative to expungement/An Act relative to expungement, sealing and criminal record provisions. Sen. Cynthia Creem, Rep. Marjorie Decker. Fixes the juvenile expungement law and promotes jobs by: (1) permitting expunging even if person has more than one charge and limiting exclusions to never sealable sex offenses; (2) preventing juvenile fingerprints from going to the FBI; (3) allowing juvenile records to be sealed immediately by a judge if there was no adjudication, and automatically after the waiting period expires; (4) stopping juvenile offenses from triggering later mandatory minimum sentences.
Provide More Efficient Automatic Sealing After a Waiting Period Expires
HD3635: An Act providing easier and greater access to record sealing. Rep. Liz Malia. The bill provides for automatic sealing of records after the applicable waiting period through the Commissioner of Probation. The sealing process is now done manually for each and every request, and a request has to be mailed or delivered to the Office of the Commissioner of Probation. This change would increase efficiency and benefit many people harmed by their criminal records, but unaware of their right to seal their records.