Advocates, experts, legislators and community leaders converged at the State House on Monday to testify in favor of a comprehensive criminal justice reform bill that would repeal mandatory minimum drug sentences, reduce certain non-violent felonies to misdemeanors, would further reform the CORI system to promote successful re-entry and more. The bill would also create a medical parole mechanism for permanently incapacitated inmates, raise the threshold for felony larceny and would also take the savings produced from lower incarceration rates to create a trust fund to redistribute resources from the criminal justice system to community education and workforce development programs.
“Our state is wasting precious resources on a system that isn’t just and doesn’t work,” said state Sen. Sonia Chang-Díaz (D-Boston), Judiciary Committee member and a sponsor of the bill, An Act for Justice Reinvestment (H.2308/S.791), according to a press release. “We can use public resources responsibly, on those sentences and programs that are fitted to the crime and that prevent crime where we know we can. We can save millions of dollars, and invest those savings to ensure that our neighborhoods are well-served.”
“Today we can clearly see the high cost of our criminal justice policies on historically impoverished communities and neighborhoods. Now is the time for Massachusetts to prioritize public safety by being smart on crime and investing in programs in education, job training and youth employment,” said state Rep. Mary Keefe (D-Worcester), a sponsor of H.2308, according to a press release.