BOSTON (WWLP) – A group of criminal justice advocates gathered outside the Statehouse on Monday to demand that no new prisons are built in the Commonwealth.
A bill that was filed this session prompted a statewide movement that started in Springfield and ended at the Statehouse. A proposal on Beacon Hill would construct a new women’s prison for about $50 million. But advocates hope to put a moratorium in place to prevent any new prison construction for at least five years.
“It is fiscally irresponsible and it is inhumane and it is just outright injustice, and injustice for this state and this governor to be building a new women’s prison,” Andrea James told 22News.
The group of criminal justice advocates is teaming up with lawmakers to call for major investments in areas like mental health and drug rehabilitation.
“The majority of women who are incarcerated are incarcerated for economic, non-violent sometimes substance abuse, sometimes mental health often trauma-related causes,” Sen. Jo Comerford said.
Currently, Massachusetts has one of the lowest incarceration rates in the country yet $1.4 billion is spent on the correctional system annually. This session lawmakers hope to direct some of that funding away from prisons and back into the communities that need it most.
Now, the bill currently sits in front of the judiciary committee a public hearing on the matter has not been scheduled yet.