WEEK OF ACTION 

UPDATES

ACTIONS:

OVERVIEW

These weeks of action are led by Families for Justice as Healing and the Building Up People Not Prisons Coalition.

The mission of Families for Justice as Healing is to end the incarceration of women and girls. Families for Justice as Healing is led by incarcerated women, formerly incarcerated women, and women with incarcerated loved ones. We are abolitionists - we organize to build up our communities as we work to end policing, courts, and incarceration.  

Massachusetts is trying to build a new women’s prison. We have blocked the process twice since January 2020. Building a new women’s prison will cause generations of irreparable harm. We can close Framingham AND create alternatives for every single incarcerated woman without even changing any laws! We need you with us - keep checking back to find out more ways you can work with us to stop the new women’s prison and support us as we create what different looks like!

The People Not Prisons Coalition meets every Saturday from 1-3pm. If you are interested in giving your time to end the incarceration of women and girls and would like more info about meetings, please contact mhanora@justiceashealing.org.

 #FREEHER

#FREEOURFAMILIES

#CLEMENCYWORKS

COVID-19 Fact Sheets to mail to your incarcerated loved ones:  https://tinyurl.com/COVIDvaxMA

https://deeperthanwater.org/2021/01/13/covid-19-faqs/

Summary of our COVID-19 work here.

Contact us for more information:  

mhanora@justiceashealing.org 

@justicehealing

@pplnotprisons

https://www.facebook.com/familiesforjusticeashealing 

Testify in solidarity with #DecrimMA coalition on legislation to end the criminalization of sex work.

Stand in solidarity with criminalized folks across the Commonwealth by testifying in support of “An Act to Protect Transgender and Low Income Women”, bill number S.992/H.1800. The #DecrimMA coalition led by Black and Pink MA, Whose Corner is It Anyway, and trans and queer sex workers of color urges folks to submit testimony for a legislative hearing on June 15th, 2021. Repealing common nightwalking prevents vulnerable women from being needlessly cycled through the criminal legal system, which disrupts their lives, causes trauma, and does nothing to improve their material well-being. You can submit written testimony anytime here or sign up to testify virtually Tuesday June 15th here. 

Call on DA Rollins and the Suffolk County DA's Office to Rectify Unjust Sentences

Join us in calling on the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office, led by DA Rachael Rollins, to take action in three cases consistent with her rhetoric of fighting racial injustice and changing unjust sentencing.

1) Hubert Smith

Hubert Smith has been incarcerated for more than 40 years on a first-degree murder conviction. On a motion for new trial, a Suffolk Superior Court Judge recently determined that the trial prosecutor violated Hubert's right to Due Process during plea negotiations by "locking" Hubert's plea offer to his co-defendant; Hubert wanted to take responsibility for his actions and accept the plea to second-degree long before trial, but the DA's Office would only accept his plea if his juvenile co-defendant also took a plea--a factor entirely beyond Hubert's control. The judge has now said this was a constitutional violation and ordered a new trial. However, the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office thinks "no injustice occurred" and not only fought Hubert's motion, but is appealing the judge's decision.

In response to a justice system that undeniably results in harsher outcomes for Black people, and after the elected DA made a commitment to address the disproportionality in sentencing and the unconstitutional practices that were used for decades by the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office, the Chief of the Integrity Review Bureau is making it a priority to appeal a case where an elderly Black man won relief for prosecutorial misconduct. Call the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office in solidarity with Hubert - (617) 619-4000 - and ask to leave a message.

Script:

I am calling regarding the Integrity Review Bureau's appeal of Hubert Smith's successful motion for new trial. DA Rollins campaigned on correcting decades of injustices and prosecutorial overreach that have disproportionately targeted people of color. Mr. Smith won a motion for new trial, but the Integrity Review Bureau is appealing the decision to ensure that an elderly Black man whose constitutional rights were violated more than 40 years ago will nevertheless die in prison. Instead, this Office should drop the appeal and offer a plea to manslaughter in the interest of justice, so this ordeal can end and the Office can begin to redress practices that have been used for decades to ensure harsh sentences for defendants of color.

2) Angela Jefferson - #FreeMsAngie

Ms. Angela Jefferson is a mother and grandmother who has been incarcerated at MCI-Framingham for 30 years. She is serving a sentence of life without the possibility of parole. She has filed a motion for new trial because her trial never included substantial mitigating evidence about her background and life experience, including her history of trauma as a survivor of familial and intimate partner abuse. Call the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office - (617) 619-4000 - ask to leave a message and to support Ms. Angie Jefferson's motion for a new trial by June 17th!

Script:

I am calling to urge DA Rollins and the Integrity Review Bureau to support Ms. Angela Jefferson's Motion for New Trial. Ms. Angie's motion for new trial explains how her history of trauma, which was a significant factor in the crime she committed, was never developed at her trial. The DA's Office has the opportunity to assent to the motion and support a just outcome. Ms. Angie's time in prison is a testament to her capacity for transformation once she dealt with her experiences of trauma and abandonment. I hope the DA's Office will fully support this motion in court and offer a reduced sentence to free Ms. Angie from prison.

3) Quincy Butler

Quincy Butler has been tried four times for the same set of charges on spotty evidence, including with witnesses paid thousands of dollars by the state for their participation who have repeatedly changed their stories. He has always maintained his innocence. The first three trials ended in mistrials. In the fourth trial, Quincy was convicted, but fifteen years later that conviction was overturned when appellate courts found the prosecution engaged in racial and gender discrimination during jury selection--particularly significant in this case which alleges that a Black man was involved in the killing of a white woman. Even though his conviction was overturned, Quincy is now facing a fifth trial by the Suffolk County DA's Office. The DA's office had offered a plea to 15 years in prison at his fourth trial--time he has now already fully served. Call the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office - (617) 619-4000 - and ask them to file a nolle prosequi and not pursue a fifth trial!

Script:

I am calling to urge DA Rollins to file a nolle prosequi (pronounced nolly pross-see-quay) and drop all charges in the case of Quincy Butler. Mr. Butler has already been tried four times by this office. The first three trials ended in mistrials and the fourth was overturned on appeal for racial and gender discrimination in jury selection. During the fourth trial, this Office offered a plea to 15 years in prison -- Mr. Butler has now already served 15 years in prison before he won his appeal. Mr. Butler has always maintained his innocence. This Office should not proceed with an unprecedented fifth trial! I am asking DA Rollins to drop the charges in Mr. Butler's case and file a nolle prosequi.

Urgent support for mental health of an incarcerated loved one

Frank Webb is currently incarcerated and MCI-Cedar Junction and needs urgent support to be transferred so he can receive the mental health services he needs. Mr. Webb is being shackled for hours at a time and possibly experiencing physical and extensive psychological abuse from guards, including taunts to kill himself. Contact the MCI-Cedar superintendent to support Mr. Webb

Script

I am calling as I am concerned about the treatment of Frank Webb who is currently incarcerated at MCI-Cedar Junction. I am concerned about Mr. Webb’s mental health and the treatment he is receiving in the behavioral management unit. I urge you to ensure Mr. Webb is moved to Bridgewater State Hospital so he can get the mental health support he needs.

MCI-Cedar Junction Superintendent Douglas DeMoura

(508) 660-8000 - Ext. 209 or Ext. 210

Call in solidarity with our beloved brother Jordan Rice

Jordan Rice is a beloved brother who is currently facing racist harassment while incarcerated in Old Colony Correctional Center in Plymouth County. He has been locked in solitary confinement since May 15 and is currently on hunger strike to protest his treatment and conditions. Call and email the Old Colony Superintendent, DOC, and Governor Baker in solidarity with Jordan.

Script:

I am calling as I am concerned about the treatment of Jordan Rice who is currently incarcerated at Old Colony Correctional Center. I am very concerned about the targeted, racist, harassment he is facing and demand that he be released from solitary confinement and the conditions of his hunger strike met.

Old Colony Correctional Center Superintendent Stephen Kenney

(508) 279-6000 ext. 6761

Department of Correction Commissioner Carol Mici

508-422-3330

Carol.Mici@doc.state.ma.us 

Governor Charlie Baker

(617) 725-4005

charlie.baker@state.ma.us 

CC: karyn.polito@state.ma and constituent.services@state.ma.us

Tell your MA senator and representative to stop new prison construction

Directly affected women came together to write groundbreaking legislation to establish a moratorium (or pause button) on all jail and prison design and construction across Massachusetts. Watch the legislative briefing on this bill here, especially testimony from Stacey Borden and Andrea James starting just after 11 minutes.

The Moratorium Bill will:

The bill will not stop the state from routine maintenance or making needed essential repairs to jails and prisons but it will pause excessive spending on renovations when decarceration should be considered first.

We need Massachusetts representatives and senators to support this important legislation - will you help us get co-sponsors?

CALL AND EMAIL YOUR ELECTED OFFICIALS

  1. Find your legislators here: https://malegislature.gov/search/findmylegislator
  2. See if they are listed as a “petitioner” for S.2030 or H.1905
  3. Call and email your State Rep to ask them to cosponsor or thank them for their support
  4. Call and email your State Senator to ask them to cosponsor or thank them for their support. Scripts for calls and emails are below.

Script to ask them to cosponsor: My name is ____ and I am calling as your constituent to ask you to cosponsor S.2030 and H.1905, “An Act to Establish a Moratorium on Prison and Jail Construction.” This bill will establish a five-year pause on designing building new prisons or jails and on renovating dormant prisons and jails.

Incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women have led the design of this bill and they make it clear that there is no such thing as a trauma-informed prison. We have better solutions than incarceration that we can use in Massachusetts. After years of steady declines in our state’s incarcerated population, this bill gives us the opportunity to refocus our priorities on alternatives to incarceration and fully implementing reforms passed by the legislature. As your constituent, I believe there is a strong moral, economic, and environmental imperative to support S.2030 and H.1905 and urge you to cosponsor this important bill. Please let me know when you have taken action on the bill.

Script to thank them for cosponsoring: My name is ____ and I am calling as your constituent to thank you for cosponsoring “An Act to Establish a Moratorium on Prison and Jail Construction.” It is important to me that we stop spending on building new prisons and jails so we can instead invest in what people actually need. We are at a turning point in Massachusetts, and your leadership on this issue will help create a better future for all of us.

Email template

Dear ____,

My name is ____ and I am writing as your constituent to ask you to cosponsor and support S.2030 and H.1905, “An Act to Establish a Moratorium on Prison and Jail Construction.” This bill will establish a five-year pause on designing building new prisons or jails and on renovating dormant prisons and jails.

Incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women have led the design of this bill and they make it clear that there is no such thing as a trauma-informed prison. We have better solutions than incarceration that we can use in Massachusetts. After years of steady declines in our state’s incarcerated population, this bill gives us the opportunity to refocus our priorities on alternatives to incarceration and fully implement reforms passed by the legislature. As your constituent, I believe there is a strong moral, economic, and environmental imperative to support S.2030 and H.1905 and urge you to cosponsor this important bill. Please let me know when you have taken action on the bill.