Gearing up in Massachusetts

Post Date: April 3, 2014

We’re busy these days in Massachusetts, where FAMM is fighting hard to repeal mandatory minimum sentences for state drug offenses. FAMM drafted two bills this legislative session – one, H.1646, would repeal mandatory minimums for drugs and allow all drug offenders already serving mandatory minimums to be eligible for parole, earned “good conduct” credits and work release. The other, H.1645, would reduce the size of school zones to 100 feet (the same as the drug-free zones for parks and playgrounds) and repeal the mandatory minimum. 

Both bills were assigned to the state legislature’s Judiciary Committee. We expect they will be scheduled for a public hearing in early May. (You may have seen the earlier notice about an April 9 hearing date, but that has been postponed.) The public hearing is a critical step in the law making process (step #3 on this chart). FAMM will testify in support of our bills. If you’re in Massachusetts, please join us! You can help us show the committee and media that there is strong support for sentencing reform. FAMM members packed the room during the 2011 hearing.  It was a powerful moment when they were recognized by the committee.

Massachusetts-Statehouse-Hearing-9-20-11-019

Massachusetts FAMM members packed the hearing room in 2011.

The public hearing is also a great opportunity for FAMM members to meet and greet one another. Too often, the families of prisoners feel isolated. But believe me, you’re not alone! And if you’re not in Massachusetts, don’t worry – we will keep you posted here on our Massachusetts page. Check it out now to learn more about our work in the Bay State! 

Barb Dougan
Massachusetts Project Director

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