Dozens marched in rally for criminal justice reform

Members marched through two cities

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Dozens of people marched through Downtown Springfield and Holyoke, to bring attention to the “Justice Reinvestment Act.”

The legislation would repeal mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent, drug crimes.

Members of the Western Massachusetts “Jobs Not Jails” coalition believe criminal justice reform will save millions in taxpayer dollars and make communities safer.

“There’s a lot of racial disparities in the system,” Sonia Mendez said. “Usually minorities and people of color, people in poor communities are usually the ones that are incarcerated.”

A recent report found incarceration rates tripled in Massachusetts since the 1980s. ‘Jobs not Jails’ estimates the state spends more than $2 billion per year on the prison system.