[act-ma] Action Alert -- 5/8/07 Prison Moratorium Hearing -- CALL TO ACTION

Andrea Hornbein mononoke at 7gp.org
Sat May 5 13:53:33 PDT 2007


On Tuesday, May 8, 2007 at 1PM in the Massachusetts State House Room A-2,
the Joint Committee on the Judiciary will host a public hearing on H 1723 –
An Act Relative to Incarceration and its Impact on Public Safety. 

        This bill calls for a five-year moratorium on the construction of
new jails, houses of corrections, and prisons.  It creates a Special
        Commission to study and make recommendations for alternatives to
incarceration. Read the bill here.  

What is needed now. Please help by doing one or more of the following:

1.  CONTACT YOUR LEGISLATORS (www.wheredoivotema.com) and ask them to
contact judiciary committee members in support of H1723.
2.  PROVIDE TESTIMONY (written)** from as many people as possible about the
many aspects of why a moratorium is necessary (including economic impact,
social impact, impact on youth, CORI, substance abuse, human rights, etc.)

3.  ATTEND the hearing. Good TURNOUT is needed for legislators to take us
seriously – so that they know that there is public support for this bill.
4.  MEDIA COVERAGE including letters to the editor supporting the moratorium

THIS IS WHAT WE HAVE BEEN WORKING FOR – to finally have a legislative forum
to present our case for an end to prison and jail expansion in Massachusetts

**For more information or to provide written testimony, please contact
info at massdecarcerate.org or call (617) 372-5760.

Support Massachusetts House Bill 1723
An Act Relative to Incarceration and its Impact on Public Safety

Why Support This Bill?

1.         The War on Drugs is waged more harshly against poor communities
and communities of color as demonstrated by higher arrest and conviction
rates; longer sentences and higher incarceration rates.[1] 

2.         People struggling with addictions are not criminals.  For 80% of
people incarcerated in the United States, the crimes for which they have
been convicted can be linked to drug and alcohol abuse.  Drug addiction is a
public health issue, not a criminal justice issue.[2] 

3.         Human rights violations – ranging from degrading and humiliating
treatment by guards to sensory deprivation (internationally recognized as a
form of torture) – are rampant in prisons and jails.  Expansion will
exacerbate these problems and will manufacture even more hopelessness and
long-term harm.  Successful return to the community will become problematic
for even more people.[3], [4]

4.         It is our assertion that the mass arrest, jailing, and
deportation of immigrant detainees are unnecessary for public safety.  These
practices fuel expansion of the police and courts and are used as
moneymaking schemes for Massachusetts jailors.[5]

5.     &nbs p;   If we build healthy communities we will not need to build
new jails or prisons.  Prison expansion draws funds from desperately needed
community services.  Taxpayer dollars are wasted on perpetuating an
ineffective system rife with abuse.[6]

6.         Some people argue that building new jails is necessary in order
to keep parents close to their children.  However, families are best served
when parents – the majority of whom have been convicted of non-violent
crimes of survival – can remain at home to care for and support their
children.  Prison expansion, including the creation of “gender responsive
prisons” will not reduce the harm done to families by incarceration – it
will only bring it closer to home.[7]

7.         An end to prison expansion will mean fewer people incarcerated
and therefore fewer people with criminal records (CORIs ) who are unable to
access affordable housing and living wage jobs.  With access to affordable
housing and living wage jobs people will no longer be forced into crimes of
economic survival
 and the cycle will be broken.[8]

[1] http://www.sentencingproject
[2] http://www.hawaii
[3] http://www.massdecarcerate.org/PICS.html
[4] http://www.hrw.org/prisons
[5] http://www.massdecarcerate.org/immigrants.html
[6] http://www.realcostofprisons.org/
[7] http://www.fcnetwork.org/Resource%20Center/what-happens.html
[8] http://www.unionofminorityneighborhoods.org/marc/

Moratorium Endorsers*/SHaRC Members
American Civil Liberties Union-MA*   *   American Friends Service Committee 
 *    Felix Arroyo, Boston City Council   *   ARISE for Social Justice   S  
BAGLY   S   Boston Workers Alliance*   *   Will Brownsberger, 24th
Middlesex*   *   Center for Popular Economics   *   Chuck Turner, Boston
City Council   *  Citizens for Participation in Political Action   *  
Community Change, Inc. - Boston   *   Community Church of Boston   *  
Connecticut River Valley Green-Rainbow Party   *   Criminal Justice
Institute, Harvard School of Law   *   Critical Resistance   *   Denis e
Provost, 27th Middlesex*   *   Drug Policy Forum of Massachusetts   *  
Efficacy - Hartford, CT   *   Freedom Center   *   Grammas for  Ganja   *  
Green-Rainbow Party of Massachusetts   *   Holyoke Girls, Inc.   *   Jericho
- Boston   *   MA Coalition for Healthy Communities   *   MA Welfare Rights
Union   *   Peter Kocot, 1st Hampshire*   *   Out Now   *   Paloma House   *
  Prison Book Program - Quincy   *   Prison Book Project-Western MA   *  
Reverend Filipe C. Teixeira, OFSJC, Northeastern Diocese of Saint Francis of
Assisi, Catholic Church of America*   *   Carl Sciortino, 34th Middlesex*  
*   Springfield Catholic Workers   *   Survivors, Inc.   *   Through Barbed
Wire   *   Tom Mooney Local Socialist Party USA   *   Traprock Peace Center 
 *   UAW Local 2322   *   Western MA International Action Center/Troops Out
Now   *   Women's Fightback Network   *   Women's International League for
Peace and Freedom-Boston
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