Help Reform The Criminal Justice System in MA
We have a huge opportunity to make real change in a system that disproportionately hurts LGBTQ people.
Today is the deadline for Massachusetts House representatives to make amendments to the comprehensive criminal justice reform bill. We need your help to urge your representative to support four amendments that would impact LGBTQ youth and adults in the Commonwealth.
Criminal justice reform is an LGBTQ issue, and here’s why.
LGBTQ youth, particularly LGBTQ youth of color, are overrepresented in the juvenile system because of pervasive bias, unsupportive families or school administrators, and discriminatory policing. LGBTQ adults are also particularly vulnerable to discrimination when interacting with the criminal justice system.
Now we have an opportunity to reform the system.
We’ve made it easy with these short talking points:
- Solitary confinement and LGBTQ prisoners: LGBTQ prisoners are more likely to be placed in solitary confinement for their “protection.” But solitary confinement does not protect LGBTQ prisoners from harm, and in fact increases psychological and emotional harm. This amendment would limit how long a prisoner can remain in solitary confinement and prevent LGBTQ prisoners from being held in isolation simply because they are or are perceived to be LGBTQ. Will you co-sponsor this amendment with lead sponsor Rep. Ruth Balser?
- Expungement: Juvenile court records follow youth for the rest of their lives. Those records can create barriers for youth higher education, employment and housing later in life. Expungement of criminal records, including juvenile records, would create more opportunities for young people to reach their full potential. Will you co-sponsor this amendment with lead sponsor Rep. Kay Khan?
- Raise the Age: Current law allows for kids as young as seven years old to enter into the juvenile justice system, and allows for 18-year-olds to enter into the adult criminal justice system. Raising the age on both ends would ensure a fairer system with better outcomes for kids and young adults. Will you co-sponsor this amendment with lead sponsors Rep. Kay Khan and Rep. Evandro Carvalho?
- Romeo and Juliet: Efforts are underway to decriminalize teens engaging in consensual sexual activity. This amendment would help ensure consenting teens are provided guidance about relationships, rather than being criminalized. Will you support this amendment?
These provisions would result in more LGBTQ young people, particularly LGBTQ young people of color, staying out of the system and remaining in their communities in programs designed to empower them to reach their full potential.