is a proud member of criminal justice reform coalitions including the
Jobs Not Jails Coalition
, a group community, labor, religious, legal organizations and individuals with a keen interest in the review of the state’s criminal justice system.
On April 13
2018, Governor Baker signed into law our state’s first comprehensive legislation criminal justice reform bill in decades!
This legislation encompasses many positive reforms that we’ve listed below. This legislation is the culmination of years of tireless work from our coalition partners, key legislators, and people like you who
used their Recovery Voices to educate lawmakers.
We hope these reforms will help people to achieve long-term recovery by lowering some barriers created by criminal justice involvement. There is always more to be done! In the coming months MOAR will focus on making sure these reforms are implemented and advocating for other important reforms.
Certain reforms that
and our partners consider important were not included in this bill. We’ve highlighted these issues
, and they will become priorities for next year!
>Reforms CORI Law so that people in long-term recovery can overcome the burden of a criminal record
- Reduce CORI Sealing times to 7 years for felonies and 3 years for misdemeanors instead of the current 10 years for felonies and 5 years for misdemeanors
- Make resisting arrest convictions sealable.
- Allow people with sealed records to say “I have no record” on housing and professional licensure applications
>Raises the minimum dollar amount for charging felony theft from $250 (third lowest in the nation) to $1,200 so that minor theft does not result in a long felony record.
>Reduces fines and fees for probation/parole that people in early recovery sometimes struggle to pay.
>Mandates District Attorneys create diversion programs for people with addictions
and makes more people eligible for diversion so that people with addiction get a chance at treatment rather than jail.
>Eliminates some Mandatory Minimum Sentences for nonviolent offenses
to give sentencing discretion back to judges and allow for diversion to treatment rather than jail for people struggling with addictions. As people in recovery, we understand that
many low-level drug dealers struggle with addiction themselves and need treatment rather than long prison sentences.
>Medication assisted treatment inside correctional facilities was not included.
- People entering jails and prisons are being taken off their legally-prescribed medications for addiction forcing them withdrawal and increased overdose risk after release.
- Representative O’Day and Senator Keenan are now working to add this the upcoming CARE Act.
>Does not create a Justice Re-investment Fund that would target money saved by decreased incarceration to help affected individuals and communities.
This legislation is comprehensive.
There are many more positive reforms and areas for improvement that we are not able to cover here. Overall, this legislation represents a big step forward toward moving people with addictions out of jails and into treatment. Stay tuned to MOAR for more update.