As an organization working tirelessly to advocate for racial justice, civil rights, and civil liberties, the ACLU of Massachusetts celebrates the House’s success in passing meaningful criminal justice reform legislation.
Our elected representatives showed courage, compassion, and moral leadership by advancing a number of important reforms, most notably, the repeal of mandatory minimum sentences for certain drug offenses. For years, mandatory sentences have driven over-incarceration and unfairly punished communities of color, poor people, and people suffering from substance use disorders. We cannot incarcerate our way out of the opioid crisis. Public health crises require public health solutions.
The ACLU also applauds the House action to defend due process and individual privacy by defeating proposals to expand law enforcement’s ability to conduct invasive wiretap surveillance of people. Efforts to expand government wiretapping should never be tacked on as amendments. Democracy requires open public debate and community control over police and prosecutor surveillance power.
A great deal of thanks also goes to our supporters across Massachusetts who exercised their power as constituents to influence policy and push justice forward in the Commonwealth. They made the House victory possible by contacting their representatives to voice support for the repeal of mandatory minimum sentencing and oppose wiretap amendments.
We look forward to working with Governor Baker and Legislative leaders to continue this important progress during the conference committee process.