Ending Mass Incarceration
The incarceration rate in MA has tripled since the 1980’s, now on par with Kazakhstan. Our prisons are filled with those suffering from drug addiction or trauma, serving long sentences that ignore the underlying problem. We have been working on this issue for years, including winning a Drug Court in Brockton in 2014. We’re currently working with the Jobs Not Jails coalition on statewide legislation, working in local communities on police accountability, and working on immigration reform around detention and incarceration.
Jobs Not Jails: In 2015-16 with allies in the Jobs Not Jails coalition, we are organizing to pass the Justice Reinvestment Act. It eliminates mandatory minimum sentences, reduces some felonies to misdemeanors and eliminates a $500 fee to re-instate a driver’s license after release from jail. Financial savings will be directed into job training and effective re-entry programs. We had strong turn out at the June hearing and will hold meetings and rallies with state legislators throughout the summer and fall. MCAN is also organizing support from law enforcement. We are aiming to have the legislation move to a vote in the Spring of 2016.
Locally, two affiliates are engaged in beloved community campaigns to address mass incarceration by organizing for: (1) greater transparency from the police on who they are stopping and how their interactions differ depending on race (2) to hire more people of color into publicly funded jobs, especially police officers.