Thanks for voting against three-strikes

Dear Will,

Thank you for voting “no” on this criminal centered legislation. You stood out bravely on this, and it is appreciated.
Not a popular “no” vote, but true and fair.

 

Here is some more information passed on from colleague and former Social Work Dean from Salem State.

“Massachusetts is poised to pass very bad legislation –called Habiitual Offender bills–unless there is a very immediate and broad effort to stop it.

The links below will provide you with information about the two bills–House and Senate–that are being considered by the Mass. legislature’s conference committee on  Thursday, Jan. 12th.   When even the Boston Globe calls for reconsideration, you know something has gone very wrong.

Phone numbers for you to call and state your objections are found at the end of this forwarded material.

The proposed legislation, which was rushed through both bodies, was (as I understand it) approved unanimously in the Senate; in the House, the entire Black and Latino delegation plus only 4 White members, voted against it.
Folks in JP can thank Reps Malia and Sanchez for voting No.  Others to whom I am sending this may think you have
progressive legislators, but on this issue, they’ve gone wrong and need to be told so.

Of the two bills, the Senate bill is probably somewhat better.  But the bottom line should be this:
Many states who passed 3 strikes and you’re out legislation in the 1970s are having buyers’ remorse and are experiencing over-crowding and huge budgetary problems. Mass. should not be replicating these problems, especially since, as it is now, 1/6 of our prison population is serving life terms, our state budget is going towards incarceration while funds to higher education are being slashed—and locking non-violent criminals up for life is cruel and unusual punishment.

PLEASE TAKE A MINUTE TO RESPOND, AND PLEASE FORWARD ON.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Smart-on-Crime-Massachusetts/267881016593947

[cid:[email protected]]

Partakers
230 Central Street, Auburndale, MA 02466
617 795 2725   www.partakers.org<http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?llr=mvlis8bab&et=1109055973839&s=129&e=001hlVm-eUYvkbMZU9b5T2HoCaFI9PsiNVafKJmMVs9pHhbz_-JbP3mRKybBSFZqS0PWGl-ORyorTEwY1fcq8Fx1IZUBKPfzu8t7sRieJTLUWb2zeWrOImzmQ==>
Bridging the divide that separates those inside and outside prison

Action Alert – “Three Strikes” Law
We Need Your Help!

Because many of you are engaged in social and criminal justice reform, we expect you have been receiving emails, and perhaps even phone calls, alerting you to the extremely troublesome bills that were passed by the Massachusetts Senate and House last month (each legislative body passed different yet similarly menacing bills).  For those of you who haven’t been informed, you need to know!  Part of the “Habitual Offender Laws”, these bills are more commonly known as the “three strikes” law.  This law would issue the maximum sentence possible to someone with any two felony convictions who commits a third “dangerous or serious” crime (each bill offers 60 crimes that it believes fit that definition).  It would also eliminate parole for nearly everyone convicted of the third crime.  Just think of the repercussions! – Massachusetts prisons would become perilously overcrowded (and they already average 143% overcrowding); the Department of Correction budget would skyrocket (taxpayers could be hit with a cost well over a hundred million dollars); and, because habitual offenders will almost certainly opt to go to trial rather than plead guilty, there will clearly be increased court and county jail costs and further court delays.

The lead editorial in this week’s Boston Phoenix – A Bad Pitch: How “Three Strikes” Legislation Fails (Boston Phoenix Editorial<http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?llr=mvlis8bab&et=1109055973839&s=129&e=001hlVm-eUYvkZ00bHgQd9vxrEyTFHuBReIzG8qTPZYce2MN82LYIidqpB3Y12k55b4Kes_2MDD8vWlJzfKj8-j21jahkzrbmneeLyXHXmprBq-mhnhvKlUF4Ir3u_uw6HcEmbvwe-z6UGEd_BD06y_m-jzfLkl4jq0nABO-9Y6YDYtLFg1Cn0__IHeyHvYbc_SJXVbU7Kik6pPpJqk7IL92meLmBfDeiKM>) – is an excellent capture of the issue, especially with its driving first sentence: “Despite evidence that “three strikes” mandatory sentencing laws don’t work, are punishingly expensive for taxpayers, and make an already unfair criminal justice system even more irrational and racist, the Massachusetts legislature seems hell-bent on enacting one”.  The Phoenix is not the only newspaper that chose to editorialize or write articles about the absurdity of the “three strikes” law; the Boston Globe (Boston Globe Editorial<http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?llr=mvlis8bab&et=1109055973839&s=129&e=001hlVm-eUYvkb9FKhhotYmuBDgO31JQX4Dt5iY0Al45eaGdHL-bNBmptN8XItCzwnyEe0-ofSxgVibGZIzPmlaEdhgp1uRdJdKQJy8OL4fDRHZUsBq-iEi3T9cnL7-hQNXYDQ7BbmnBka-cynpqMeDyZTwEoEL2Mp5OuUR95J3KKgQMGs6IeaL95ZDTF1voQefZvxxn9t4b73oGeQbaFtW4jZresGZZit683hUZlQk2KM=>) and many local papers pointed to the dangers it poses not only to those with two strikes, but to all of us in the Commonwealth who will bear the burden of its implementation.

The bills are now in the Conference Committee (composed of three Senators and three Representatives) which has been charged with drafting one bill on which both the Senate and the House can agree.  That bill cannot be amended; and, if it passes, will be sent to the Governor to be signed into law.

We trust that you will agree with us and the many organizations and individuals who are taking action in hopes that the Conference Committee and legislature will listen and better understand how seriously flawed the two bills are.  Despite the Senate version of the bill includes modest and long overdue reforms to mandatory minimums and school zones, as well as earned good time provisions and medical parole for aged and dying prisoners, they need to know that this is simply not enough. We ask that you remind them how critical the Habitual Offender laws (including the “three strikes” law) are to the overall tenor of the criminal justice system.

The new Smart on Crime in Massachusetts website offers this very useful link – Smart on Crime Fact Sheet<http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?llr=mvlis8bab&et=1109055973839&s=129&e=001hlVm-eUYvkY7B9IplQulHMUbn2WacXFvaLqaS-D8btNogfm10ytt1fWwMcHm7hANwqeBdjqOcosAwqeH7oHbLnBJjuk49bqPbU2jlrZUpfoy1YdUyYDz0jcDgLwr5wV0MVHiIJ2kyWbpvDi64J9A11D4XSmGYFIWFWvjH4r1dYguCqhZs15Ac9brastoNFTn3WiLkgiS3lSsslAuAG2D50_dsb7neCLF0FDu8XlnQuNw4GPJjUaSNQ==>.  It is a list of facts you can use when you prepare to speak to your Senator and House Rep (it goes into greater depth  examining the issues discussed above – overcrowding, excessive costs to taxpayers, increased court and county jail costs, etc.

Equally as helpful is this FAMM (Families Against Mandatory Minimums) fact sheet -FAMM Factsheet<http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?llr=mvlis8bab&et=1109055973839&s=129&e=001hlVm-eUYvkbQi25TU72jSBrmBq7N2c-5PUPTIU3yKQajOSWxcVKEe61qMLjFjSd0k-kpqCr-a45lklt_QNLNTHl7SOLtSkdKDiTjM6sXHKEZzdA3v0BvlRdoD2dYL0VSf6nN8OD0I1RU5irt6hdtuUZ865RuNsBFqe4GrOccOVq1pfZN2yY2uHAiUkZm7sKQOXR5YMLNLI-AAr-dgO69ZfkTxbtTht51KEcFajL1hmQoe4q8VMhu4g==>

This is the time to step up to the plate and call FOUL!
Call your State Senator and House Rep and let your voice be heard!
You can get their names and numbers by calling 617-722-2000.

We also urge you to contact the Chairs of the Conference Committee:
Sen. Cindy Creem (617-722-1639) and Rep. Eugene O’Flaherty (617-722-2396)

And it would be helpful if you called the other members of the Conference Committee:
Sen. Steven Badour (617-722-1604), Sen. Bruce Tarr (617-722-1600),
Rep. Bradford Hill (617-722-2100) and Rep. David Linsky (617-722-2575).

Finally, a call to the Senate President Therese Murray (617-722-1500
and Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo (617-722-2500) would “seal the deal”!

Thank you very much in advance for your support.
Together our voices can speak volumes.”

Marguerite

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