H. 1723 Testimony





Testimony regarding House No. 1723, Petition of Carl M. Sciortino, Jr., and others relative to the construction of new correctional facilities and providing for an investigation of incarceration and its impact on public safety

This bill establishes a five-year moratorium on the construction/expansion of new jails, houses of corrections, and prisons.  It also creates a Special Commission to study issues related to overcrowding in jails, the effectiveness of incarceration when dealing with populations with mental illness and substance abuse treatment needs, and alternatives to sentencing for more humane and cost-effective means of protecting public safety.

  1. Testimony of Rep. Carl Sciortino

  2. Testimony submitted by SHaRC members (Note:  Due to the demands of the May 1st hearing on prisoner suicides and subsequent notice of the May 8th moratorium hearing, testimony regarding H.B. 1723 was submitted individually by members of SHaRC.)

Nancy Ahmadifar  -  Invest in workforce development instead of prisons. “The keys to reducing recidivism are well established--substance abuse services, stable housing, and employment. [  ] A reduction in recidivism will result in a significant reduction in overcrowding.” Investment in people is an investment in public safety.

Andrea Hornbein  -  Remedy, not duplicate, ineffective and harmful policy and practice first; scrutinize waste and corruption of guards and staff; public opinion polls show shift from tough on crime to prevention. “Even the Sheriff of Middlesex County agrees that building more jails and prisons will not solve any crime problems.”

Jason Lydon  -  UUA endorses HB 1723; Violation of prisoners rights under ratified international accords; Post Incarceration Syndrome. “As a survivor of the prison system I can tell you that what one goes through on the inside stays with them forever.

Kim Milberg  -  Community impact of prisons and jails; “rehabilitation is best accomplished outside of a prison or jail with community and family support and without the daily fears, degradations and traumatic experiences of a prison or jail environment.”

Susan Mortimer  -  H.B. 1723 will investigate the causes and impact of overcrowding “to determine the effects of our continuing reliance upon a corrections system that receives little or no scrutiny and one that warehouses human beings for huge sums of taxpayer money.”

  1. Testimony submitted by community members and representatives of concerned organizations. To be posted. Please check back at www.MassDecarcerate.org.

Lois Ahrens, Director, Real Cost of Prisons Project

Brian Buckley, former prisoner

Melissa McWhinney, attorney, Advocacy Director, Community Action Agency of Somerville, former Director of the Mayor's Office of Human Services.


     Last Updated on Wednesday July 25, 2007.