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Juvenile Justice Reform in Massachusetts

Overview

GLAD is a proud member of the Massachusetts Coalition for Juvenile Justice Reform, a group advocating for reforms and policies to support young people in the Commonwealth. Priority legislation includes:

An Act Improving Juvenile Justice Data Collection

Senate Bill 1386/House Bill 2141  |  Lead sponsors: Senator Creem and Rep. Tyler

This bill would help ensure state resources are used efficiently to protect public safety and improve outcomes for youth by collecting critical data at all stages of the juvenile justice system. Using data – at both the system and individual level – can have a large impact. Data allows system leaders to see disparities where they occur and to identify and to evaluate policies or practices that may inadvertently drive children deeper into the system.

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Raise the Age

House Bill 3420/Senate Bill 825  |  Lead sponsors: Senator Boncore, Rep. O’Day, and Rep. Khan

This bill will end the automatic prosecution of teens as adults by gradually raising the age of juvenile jurisdiction to include 18-20 year olds. This change is good for young people, improves public safety, benefits the economy, and helps address racial inequities in the system.

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An Act Relative to Expungement

House Bill 1386/Senate Bill 900  |  Lead sponsors: Senator Creem, Rep. Decker, and Rep. Khan

Amending the Massachusetts youth expungement law is a logical next step towards racial justice as youth of color are over-charged and sentenced compared to their white peers. It creates a lifelong barrier to social and economic success, impedes mental health, and maintains multigenerational poverty for families.

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Ending Profiling of Students

Amendment 108 to Senate Bill 2800 (“Reform, Shift + Build Act“)  |  Submitted by Senator Jehlen

This amendment works toward ending the criminalization of students, especially Black and Latinx children, and strengthen students’ privacy protections by limiting the use of schools for surveillance and information sharing between local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies

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End Placement of Police in Schools and Public Accountability

Amendments 80 and 180 (Senator Jehlen), Amendment 25 (Senator Boncore), and Amendment 41 (Senator Friedman) to Senate Bill 2800 (“Reform, Shift + Build Act“)

Repeal the state mandate that every school district be assigned at least one school resource officer (SRO); require school committee approval by public vote for assigning SROs; require that officers be stationed in a police station and on-call for schools, rather than being stationed on school property; and mandate that school districts and police departments comply with the reporting requirements of school-based arrests to qualify to have an SRO.

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Read the Coalition’s June 15, 2020 letter to House and Senate leadership and members of the Black and Latino Legislative Caucus: Recommendations to Promote Racial Equity in Youth Justice.