Join Reservoir’s ‘2 PM Power Hour’ Campaign for Criminal Justice Reform
October 9, 2017
We’re asking for your help with two phone calls this week:
(1) Thank your state senator for their support of Senator Brownsberger’s criminal justice reform bill (called S791).
(2) Call your state representative and ask that, as they consider criminal justice bills in the week to come, they pursue a bill that is as strong as the Senate’s but also does more to repeal the mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses.
If you haven’t called your state legislators before, below is a script you can follow. You can look up your reps and their phone numbers here.
We’re encouraging Reservoir members to make calls between 2:00 and 3:00 pm. any weekday this week.
Hi, my name is <<your name>> and I am in Senator <<senator’s name>>’s district. I’m concerned about the current incarceration rates in the US, in Massachusetts, and particularly among Black men. I’m calling to leave a message for Senator<<senator’s name>>, that I am in full support of Senator Brownsberger’s Criminal Justice Reform bill S591.
Hi, my name is <<your name>> and I am in Representative <<Representative’s name>>’s district. I’m concerned about the current incarceration rates in the US, in Massachusetts, and particularly among Black men. I’m calling to leave a message for Representative <<Representative’s name>>. I’m asking that, as s/he considers criminal justice bills in the coming week, that s/he pursue a bill as strong as the Senate’s bill, but that also does more to repeal mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses.
There is growing consensus that, despite good intentions, significant racial inequities and injustices that have led to extraordinarily high incarceration rates in our state and country, and disproportionate incarceration of Black men in particular. This past winter and spring, Reservoir joined our partners in Greater Boston Interfaith Organization (GBIO) in pursuing comprehensive criminal justice reform in Massachusetts. In doing so, we were compelled by so much in our faith, including Jesus’ comment that he identifies with those in prison (Matthew 25:36), as well as God’s intention that all people pursue justice in our times (Micah 6:8, and many, many other places).
GBIO has focused on 4 priorities for Criminal Justice Reform:
- Reform in pretrial and bail burden
- Reduction of fees and fines (imposed post-incarceration, before a return to earning a living wage, these increase incarceration and recidivism rates)
- Shortening the length of time spent in solitary confinement
- Repealing mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses (these mandatory minimums haven’t helped with the so-called “War on Drugs” but have led to a great deal of imprisonment for nonviolent offenses.)
Senator Will Brownsberger has brought forward a comprehensive criminal justice reform bill (called S791) that has pretty broad support in the Senate. It does a great job with items (1) & (2) above, & it makes some progress on (3). However, it is very weak on (4).
It seems this is the best bill the Senate will get for now. We want to express support for the Senate bill, and urge the House to bring a bill that is at least as good a S791 on (1) and (2) and that makes more headway on items (3) and especially (4).