BOSTON (WWLP) – Governor Baker’s Dangerousness Bill is partially still alive. 22News found out what opponents are now saying.
The Black and Latino caucus held a press conference today to discuss Governor Baker’s dangerousness amendment to a provision in the budget providing no-cost calls to inmates. The Governor’s dangerousness bill was sent to study late last week, effectively killing the measure.
However, when the annual budget crossed his desk, he used it as a vehicle to tie many provisions from his dangerousness bill to it. He did this by attaching it to an outside section eliminating charges on inmate phone calls.
Among some of the provisions is the ability for prosecutors to seek a dangerousness hearing for a larger list of alleged crimes, criminalizing the removal of a GPS ankle bracelet, and allowing the state to detain someone deemed dangerous for the duration of a case. The Massachusetts Black and Latino Caucus voiced their opposition to this amendment.
Members of the caucus were disappointed that Governor Baker would use the no-cost phone calls for inmates as leverage to pass his priorities.
It is abhorrent and an abomination that he would even try to tie this to no-cost calls when it is the lifeline that our families are able to connect with those on the outside and data and statistics and study after study shows that when there is family contact it reduces recidivism.
The Black and Latino caucus believe Baker’s dangerousness bill language will disproportionately affect minority populations.
Representative Carlos Gonzalas of Springfield went as far as to say that it was “cold” to pit survivors of crimes against inmates who cannot pay for phone calls.
If the legislature plans to veto anything in the budget, they will need to do that by Sunday.