Refusing to Remain #StuckOnReplay

The MassCJRC Journal

On July 13th, the community came together to deliver a clear message: Massachusetts can no longer delay; we need comprehensive criminal justice reform. The gathering, entitled The Fierce Urgency Of Now, Or Else #StuckOnReplay, drew hundreds of individuals, advocates, and community leaders to Dudley Square to share stories and issue a passionate call for change.

The program included performances by local artists to illustrate inequalities in the system, a breakout session to organize advocacy and social media strategy, and pep talks from advocacy organizations working on different components of the reform agenda. James Mackey, Founder and Organizer of #StuckOnReplay, also presented awards to recognize champions in this effort, including Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz and Representative Evandro Carvalho.

The forum marked the one year anniversary of the first #StuckOnReplay gathering, which brought together members of greater Boston communities most affected by incarceration. Over the past year, #StuckOnReplay has hosted and participated in a number of events, facilitating conversations and amplifying the voices of those who are underrepresented in a truly impactful way.

It is clear that the Massachusetts Legislature does not reflect the communities who are disproportionately impacted by the justice system, and so the need to listen to the those on the front lines – those with first-hand experience, is vital in this process. Only by acknowledging these disparities can we begin to address them through reform efforts and a reinvestment strategy that actively works to break the cycle for the next generation.

Thank you to James Mackey for putting an incredible amount of work into this movement, and to all of the partner organizations that helped make it possible. Check out to hear about the need for reform directly from the individuals and families most impacted by the criminal justice system in Massachusetts, and understand the urgency with which we need to tackle these difficult issues.

Here in Massachusetts

State Rep. Evandro Carvalho argues that most criminal offenders under 21 should be handled in juvenile courts, with only the most serious offenses for those 18 to 20 years old tried in adult court.

Bristol Sheriff Thomas Hodgson wants to have jail visitors talk to inmates through video conferencing rather than sit across from them.

Deborah Hughes of Brookview House says let’s rehabilitate moms, not lock them up.

A recent poll from the ACLU finds three-quarters of Massachusetts voters believe that the state’s criminal justice system is biased. The ACLU plans to launch a public education campaign this fall urging voters to hold district attorneys responsible for the way the criminal justice system works.

Other States

Montana becomes the latest state to pass comprehensive criminal justice reform with enactment of a 10 bill package.

Oregon does two more criminal justice reform bills reducing sentences for minor crimes, expanding access to diversion programs, and protecting against racial profiling.

How long can Connecticut’s prison reform last?

In Washington

The US Sentencing Commission releases an update to its 2011 analysis showing racial disparities in mandatory minimum sentences narrowing slightly between FY 2010 and FY 2016.

Senators Cory Booker and Elizabeth Warren introduce The Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act.

Senators Kamala Harris and Rand Paul co-author a column in the

New York Times arguing for bail reform at the federal level.

In a speech to Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference, the Marshall Project’s Bill Keller offers Nine Lessons for Washington from action in the states.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions reverses Obama administration limits on the government’s ability to seize assets.

From the Media

WBUR coverage of the June 19th Judiciary Committee focuses on efforts to limit the use of solitary confinement.

The Christian Science Monitor profiles the new breed of young progressive prosecutors cropping up around the country.

Writing for the New Yorker, Justin George explores the feasibility of bipartisan criminal justice reform during the Trump era.

The Baltimore Sun follows rising Democratic star California Senator Kamala Harris to the NAACP convention, where she pushed for reforms to cash bail and mandatory minimum sentences.

The PBS Newshour looks at New Jersey’s experience eliminating cash bail.

The Missoulian tells the story behind the story of the passage of bipartisan criminal justice reform in Montana, a great read for anyone interested in legislative strategy.

Conservative scholar Radley Balko writes an interesting opinion piece for the Washington Post on why public choice theory is crucial to understanding criminal justice reform.

From the Researchers

The Urban Institute release a new report detailing the phenomena of people spending more and more time in prison. The Massachusetts data are far more limited than most states (only the DOC and only the last few years), yet they show the same pattern of steadily increasing time served.

A Vera Institute study outlines the reasons why rural America has seen astronomical growth in its prison populations.

The Prison Policy Initiative blogs about research showing how incarceration is reducing life expectancy in the US.

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