Saturday, February 25, 2012

Next steps in fighting Three Stirkes legislation

 We had our panel on the Three Strikes legislation Thursday.  The more I learn about this legislation, the worse it gets.  Gov. Patrick proposed Three Strikes after the murder of a Woburn police officer, John Maguire, in December, 2010, by a parolee-- a parolee who still would have been released from prison even under the proposed bill.

 Patrick attempted to sweeten his harsh legislation by including two needed reforms: reducing school zone drug violations to 100 feet instead of 1,000 feet, and ending mandatory minimums for drug convictions.  But for all the harm this bill would do, it's not worth the trade-off.

I have rarely seen such a racist piece of legislation.  Only four white legislators had the guts to vote against this,  and it was voted against by every member of the Black and Latino legislative Caucus-- except for Springfield's Rep. Cheryl Coakley-Rivera.
You can get all the info you need in this special edition of the Blackstonian-- or you can pick up a copy at the Arise office, 467 State St., Springfield.
Although this bill has tremendous momentum (it's an election year, after all), there is still a strategy to kill it.  First, massive numbers of calls to the Governor's office, telling him to veto the bill and send a message back to the Legislature that he will not sign anything that does not include school zone and mandatory minimum drug sentencing reform.  Then, real pressure on our legislators to rethink their support for the bill.  If Patrick will do what we ask, chances are good that the bill will die before the end of the Legislative session.
A rally is planned at the State House on Thursday, March 15.  You can reserve a free seat by calling EPOCA at (508) 410-7676 or / (617) 606-3580.  If you want to go as part of an Arise contingent, call Ruben at 734-4948.
A statewide network of community organizations and supporters will be holding a major demonstration and lobby day in opposition to the 3-strikes bill being considered at the State House.  The rally will highlight a diverse group of speakers who will warn of the economic and social consequences of these regressive criminal justice policies.
State House Steps (Beacon St.)
The Rally and speaking portion will run between 11-12pm.  Between 12-1pm, participants will visit the offices of legislators and deliver signed advocacy cards.  The goal for the action is to show the breadth
of opposition to the misguided policies and add power and media attention to the resistance effort.
We are calling on our allies to join the growing movement against 3-Strikes.  Please complete the endorsement form by following and completing this link:

More resources from the Criminal Justice Policy Coalition: Print Friendly and PDF

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