Advocates weigh in on State Senate’s criminal justice reform bill

The bill was approved by the State Senate in a 27-10 vote last week

BOSTON (WWLP) – Lawmakers are considering changing Massachusetts criminal justice policies.

They told 22News that instead of putting people in prison, the state should be investing in drug treatment, creating jobs for ex-offenders and lifting them up out of poverty.

Leaders from groups including the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts and NAACP held a news conference at the State House on Tuesday responding to the Senate’s criminal justice reform bill.

The bill, passed by the state senate in a 27-10 vote last week, includes provisions that would raise the age for the juvenile justice system, erase certain criminal records and change the state’s sentencing policies.

Advocates support reforms for criminal record policies and the elimination of mandatory minimum sentences for certain drug offenses.

“There’s an overall lack of resources,” Rahsaan Hall of the ACLU of Massachusetts said. “There is more funding that is spent on incarcerating people than educating people or diverting people out of the system or giving them treatment.”

The bill must be approved by both chambers and get the Governor’s signature before it can become law.