Massachusetts FAMM Members: April 24 – Judiciary Committee Hearing!

Post Date: April 24, 2014

Today the Judiciary Committee held its public hearing on FAMM’s bills. Here is our press release on the hearing. As expected, the room was packed! Many FAMM members were there – and easy to spot with their bright orange “repeal mandatory minimums” buttons. A special thank you to the FAMM members who volunteered to help make a busy event run more smoothly. 

FAMM’s panel in support of our bills. I testified on behalf of FAMM about how harsh mandatory minimums prevent Massachusetts from reducing recidivism and from addressing the crisis of addiction. I had the privilege to be joined by four other panelists who spoke with great eloquence about their own experiences. 

  • Jerry Madden, Senior Fellow at Right on Crime and a former Texas legislator, brought an important perspective not often heard in Massachusetts: conservative support for sentencing reform.
  • FAMM member Eric Duphily described how his cocaine addiction led to a long prison sentence – but no access to a treatment program.
  • FAMM member Michelle Collette testified about her addiction to Percocet and the education she got in prison – about all the wrong things.
  • Maryanne Frangules, Executive Director of the Mass. Organization for Addiction Recovery (MOAR), explained that many addicts sell drugs to support their addiction and need treatment, not long prison sentences. MOAR board member Rick Dyer submitted written testimony.
MA-Jud-Comm-hearing

From left to right: FAMM members Michelle Collette and Eric Duphily, Right on Crime Senior Fellow Jerry Madden, FAMM’s Barb Dougan and Maryanne Frangules from the Mass. Organization for Addiction Recovery (MOAR)

Other groups testified in favor of mandatory minimum reform, as well as several other prison-related bills that were also on the agenda. We will collect and post their testimony in the Massachusetts section of FAMM’s website in the next few days.  

Follow-up to the hearing. The Judiciary Committee did not vote or make any other decisions today.  It could be several more weeks until they take any action on the bills heard today. Next Wednesday, April 30, we will follow up with a call-in day to legislators, as part of the Jobs Not Jails lobby day (see below).  We will send out more information next week.

Jobs Not Jails rally on Saturday. If you couldn’t make it to the hearing today, here’s another opportunity to show your support for smarter criminal justice policies. The Jobs Not Jails coalition is holding a major rally on April 26 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Boston Common Bandstand, near Tremont Street. Please let us know if you are coming. We will have FAMM signs to hold. The Jobs Not Jails lobby day will be held the following Wednesday, on April 30.  

What a week!  Please let us know if you have any questions.  

Barb

Barbara J. Dougan
Massachusetts Project Director
Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM)

Contact FAMM’s Massachusetts Project:

By phone: (617) 543-0878
By email: bdougan@famm.org
By mail: P.O. Box 54, Arlington, MA 02476