MCAN played an important role in the coalition effort to win the passage of the very strong Criminal Justice Reform Bill that the State Legislature passed on April 13, 2018. This bill takes large steps toward ending mass incarceration and racial disparities, and increases the number of people getting to drug treatment instead of prison and increase safety.
Specifically, the bill includes significant reforms on:
- – repealing many of the long Mandatory Minimum Sentences on drug charges,
- – CORI Reform so people can get jobs and access to housing
- – lessening of punitive fines and fees, increasing the threshold for what’s a felony for theft,
- – diverting more to drug treatment instead of to prison,
- – expungement of misdemeanors for youth when they turn 18 and other juvenile justice reforms,
- – solitary confinement reforms,
- – less single parents going to prison,
- – more compassionate release of terminally ill and severely disabled prisoners,
- – more police training that will lead to more racially sensitive policing and reduces the likelihood of police involved shootings,
- – much stronger data collection to increase accountability.
Important contributions made by MCAN included grassroots leaders and staff and allies holding direct actions strongly saying an December 2016 version of the bill was too limited and did not address racial disparities. At the signing of the lesser bill MCAN leaders held large posters with failing report cards. In late summer 2017, Rep. Claire Cronin, House Chair of the Judiciary Committee in the House announced she wanted to hear from all the Representatives on what they wanted in criminal justice legislation. MCAN re-structured our fall calendar and led an ambitious campaign to meet with as many state representatives as possible to encourage them to meet with Rep. Cronin, with specifics requests for our priority reforms.
Click here to watch a short video about the campaign.