Co-Sponsors needed! Call your legislators NOW!

Co-Sponsors needed! Call your legislators NOW!

Call your State Representative and State Senator by the deadline of February 2nd to ask them to co-sponsor An Act for Justice Reinvestment on criminal justice reform that is being filed by Representative Mary Keefe (HD 2714) and Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz (SD 1128).

To find out who your state legislators are, go to www.wheredoivotema.com. All legislators can be reached through the State House Switch Board at 617-722-2000.

The bill:

  1. Ends long mandatory minimum sentences on drug convictions of non-violent persons;
  2. Raises the threshold for what’s a felony theft from $250 (the third lowest in the nation) up to $1500;
  3. Lowers probation and parole fees such as the $65 a month ex-prisoners have to pay in parole fees when ex-prisoners are already working at low wage jobs;
  4. Lessens the “sealing time” before employers can no longer see court appearances on a CORI (Criminal Offender Record Information). The current times leads people not to be able to be hired when they are released from prison;
  5. Increases funding for in-prison education and job training, and increases funding for reentry services especially for job training and job placement;
  6. Possible medical release of terminally ill prisoners if a judge approves.

Sample calling script:

Hi. My name is_______ and I live in ___________.

–Can I speak to the representative/senator’s aide who deals with legislation about their co-sponsoring a bill?

—I want to ask Representative___________/Senator___________ if they will co-sponsor the Justice Reinvestment Act on criminal justice reform. It’s being filed by Representative Mary Keefe HD 2714 and Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz SD 1128.

—Should I go over briefly what they bill covers? The Justice Reinvestment Act bill with lead sponsors Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz and Representative Mary Keefe

The bill calls for: 1) Ending long mandatory minimum sentences on drug convictions of non-violent persons, 2) Raising the threshold for what’s a felony on theft from $250 (the third lowest in the nation) up to $1500, 3) Lowering probation and parole fees like the $65 a month ex-prisoners have to pay in parole fees when ex-prisoners are already working at low wage jobs, 4) CORI reform to lessen the sealing time before employers can no longer see court appearances on a CORI which leads to people not being hired (change the sealing time from 10 years for felonies and 5 years of misdemeanors to 7 years and 3 years), 5) Increasing funding for in-prison education and job training, and increasing funding for reentry services especially for job training and job placement, and 6) Possible medical release of terminally ill prisoners if a judge approves.

–Would Representative___________/Senator___________ consider co-sponsoring this bill? –When can I check back with you to find that out?

In addition, there are some “Stand Alone Bills” on individual issues that you can ask them to co-sponsor:

  1. Bill on ending long Mandatory Minimum sentences on drug convictions. Bill is sponsored by Representative Evandro Carvalho HD 1794 and Senator Cynthia Cream SD 500.
  2. Bill on raising the threshold for what’s a felony for theft from $250 to $1500. Bill is sponsored by Rep. Chynah Tyler HD 639 and both Senator Jamie Eldridge and Senator Pat Jehlen SD 1619 are filing bills on this.
  3. Bill on CORI Reform that lowers sealing times to 7 and 3 years and revises 6 areas that are barriers to getting CORI’s sealed. Bill is sponsored by Rep. Liz Malia HD 3475.
  4. Bail Reform bill to use evidence based tool so people don’t continue to be jailed because they economically can’t raise the bail money. Bill is supported by Senator Ken Donnelly and Representative David Rogers.
  5. Bill on ending probation and parole fees and other fines on defendants, prisoners, and ex-prisoners. Bill of Senator William Brownsberger SD 1389, Senator Michael Barrett SD 1951 and Rep. Chynah Tyler HD 2629.
  6. Bill on diversion to treatment of those with non-violent charges. The courts and probation officers would recommend defendants be diverted to treatment. Bill is supported by Rep. Liz Malia HD 2607.
  7. Bill on expungement of juvenile misdemeanors so they get a fresh start at age 18 without a CORI. Bill is supported by Senator Karen Spilka SD1214 and Kay Khan HD2132.

Thank you for your help and support!