Criminal justice reform has long been a top priority of mine. I will continue to fight to eliminate mandatory minimum sentences, reform solitary confinement, increase programing and drug treatment to prepare individuals for reentry, and end the practice of locking up individuals awaiting trial just because they can’t afford a minimal cash bail.
While we still have a long way to go before our criminal justice system is truly just, we have been making progress. So far this year the Senate has passed two of my bills, one that would allow individuals awaiting trial to access substance abuse treatment and career development programming at no additional cost to the commonwealth, and another bill that would raise the threshold for what larcenies are considered felonies as opposed to misdemeanors. If these bills are passed by the House, they will help low level offenders get back on their feet rather than having minor transgressions or substance abuse problems derail their entire lives. Last session I successfully led a charge to change the way health care is provided in jails and prisons, which should save the state millions of dollars a year while also providing continuity of care for individuals as they transition back to society.