ACTION ALERT

We need your help to pass groundbreaking legislation!

Senate Bill 770 calls for community-based sentencing alternatives for people charged with nonviolent offenses who are primary caretakers of dependent children.

S.770 will be heard on Monday June 19th at a hearing of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary, and now we need to let the committee members know that there is support for this bill.

Senate Bill S770 allows defense attorneys to file a motion to ask judges to consider a person’s primary caretaker status, so judges then have the opportunity to sentence parents and other primary caretakers of dependent children into community-based alternatives to jail and prison. These community-based sentencing alternatives allow people to heal and advance their lives while they continue to care for their children.

Providing safe, stable, and nurturing environments for children and families is a value most of us can agree on. We need to push our legislators to pass common sense, compassionate criminal justice reform bills that are in the best interest of Massachusetts’ families. Community-based alternatives that are better for families than jail and prison already exists.

When parents are convicted, their children are punished too. According to the research group Human Impact Partners, about 2,500 people currently incarcerated in Massachusetts state prisons and county jails are mothers and fathers would have been eligible for community-based alternatives had they been sentenced under this law.

We have the opportunity to increase the use of alternative sentences so we can keep parents out of cages and alleviate suffering.

HERE’S 3 THINGS YOU CAN DO TO HELP PASS PRIMARY CARETAKERS THIS SESSION!

1. EMAIL: Have your organization or group email a letter of support preferably on letterhead to members of the Judiciary Committee Please email your letter by Friday, June 15th.

Sample letter text: “Our organization encourages you to report favorably on Senate Bill 770: “An Act providing community-based sentencing alternatives for primary caretakers of dependent children convicted of non-violent crimes” sponsored by Senator William Brownsberger and co-sponsored by thirteen members of the Senate.

This bill would give judges the option and opportunity to issue an alternative sentence for a primary caretaker convicted of a non-violent offense. Alternative sentences are an established practice in the Commonwealth, and can allow parents to continue taking care of their children while they work to improve their lives. S.770 would most significantly impact mothers of young children in the Commonwealth who would benefit from community-based alternatives to incarceration.

S.770 would reduce the trauma and suffering caused by the separation of parents and children due to incarceration. Alternatives to incarceration are less expensive and reduce recidivism.This is the session to advance common sense, compassionate legislation like the Primary Caretakers bill that addresses the harm mass incarceration causes in the Commonwealth.”

2. PLEASE CALL: Participate in a call-in day on Tuesday, June 13th to members of the Judiciary Committee and let them know you support community-based alternatives to incarceration.

Script: “Hi my name is ___________ and I live in _____________. I am calling to express my support for Senate Bill 770 known as the Primary Caretakers bill before the Judiciary Committee. This bill would give judges the opportunity to sentence parents of dependent children convicted of non-violent offenses to community-based alternatives so they can advance their own lives while continuing to care for their kids. This is the kind of common sense, compassionate criminal justice reform that is overdue in Massachusetts. I urge to report out favorably on SB770 because it keeps Massachusetts families together. Thank you.”

3. ATTEND THE HEARING ON JUNE 19

Please share this call to action with your networks. We ask you to contact as many Judiciary Committee Legislators as you can, especially if you live in their district!

SENATORS

william.brownsberger@masenate.gov (617-722- 1280)  D Belmont -Senate Committee Chair

sonia.change-diaz@masenate.gov   (617-722- 1673)  D-Boston – Senate Committee Vice-Chair

john.keenan@masenate.gov   (617-722- 1494)  D-Quincy

patricia.jehlen@masenate.gov   (617-722- 1578)  D-Somerville

cynthia.creem@masenate.gov   (617-722- 1639)   D-Newton

richard.ross@masenate.gov   (617-722- 1555)  R-Wrentham

REPRESENTATIVES

claire.cronin@mahouse.gov   (617-722- 2396) D-Plymouth -House Committee Chair

James.Cantwell@mahouse.gov (617-722- 2396) D-Plymouth- House Committee Vice Chair

colleen.garry@mahouse.gov   ( 617-722- 2380) D-Dracut

michael.day@mahouse.gov   ( 617-722- 2582)  D-Winchester

paul.tucker@mahouse.gov   (617-722- 2400)  D-Salem

james.lyons@mahouse.gov    (617-722- 2460) R-Andover

shiela.harrington@mahouse.gov   (617-722- 2305)  R-Groton

Carole.Fiola@mahouse.gov (617-722- 2430) D-Bristol

Daniel.Hunt@mahouse.gov (617-722- 2540 D- Suffolk

Rady.Mom@mahouse.gov (617-722- 2030 D – Middlesex

Bud.Williams@mahouse.gov (617-722- 2140) D- Hampden

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