Catholic bishops asking state leaders to pass criminal justice reform bills

Boston Statehouse

BOSTON (WWLP) – Massachusetts Catholic bishops are urging lawmakers to pass several policies to reform the criminal justice system this session.

The bishops are asking lawmakers to eliminate mandatory minimum sentences, increase funding for diversion programs and raise the felony larceny threshold.

Bishop Rozanski among bishops seeking state prison reform

In a letter to the Committee this week, the four Roman Catholic Bishops of Massachusetts, including Bishop Mitchell Rozanski of the Springfield Diocese, are urging lawmakers to pass the legislation.

They expressed support for repealing mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug offenses and increasing funding for substance use treatment and job training programs. They’re also asking the legislature to limit employers access to people’s criminal records.

The bishops said individuals face “roadblocks” under the current system to getting rehabilitation and employment opportunities.

Police chiefs believe Safe Communities Act bill could lessen crime in state

Both the House and Senate passed their own criminal justice proposals in the fall. A conference committee is currently working to strike a compromise.

Once deliberations are complete, both chambers will need to take final votes on the bill.

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