The people of Massachusetts have an opportunity right now to help pioneer the development of one of the world’s most powerful peacebuilding tools: restorative justice.
MA Restorative Justice Bill SB-2078 is picking up significant momentum after a huge turnout at a House hearing recently. Sen. Jamie Eldridge introduced his bill and shared his experiences with restorative justice to a standing-room-only crowd, including Bedford’s Police Chief Robert Bongiorno, Hon. John Cratsley (ret.), and Middlesex DA Marian Ryan.
Currently the bill is with the Senate Ways & Means. We encourage you to contact your Senators today, especially if they are on the SWM Committee, to ask their support and to move the bill to the floor for a vote that includes their YES Vote.
► Write your MA elected officials today, urge them to get behind this bill and pass it into law.
Please also make note of phone numbers on the link above and make a quick call to their office. Phone calls can make a real impact. Reference bill number SB-2078 and tell them you want them to vote yes.
In addition, you can also make a call to the Senate Ways and Means Committee members at the numbers below:
Sen. Stephen M. Brewer, Chair – Capitol Phone: 617-722-1540
Sen. Jennifer L. Flanagan, Vice-Chair – Capitol Phone: 617-722-1230
Sen. Sal N. DiDomenico, Assistant Vice-Chair – Capitol Phone: 617-722-1650
Sen. Gale D. Candaras – Capitol Phone: 617-722-1291
Sen. Benjamin B. Downing – Capitol Phone: 617-722-1625
Sen. Brian A. Joyce – Capitol Phone: 617-722-1643
List of entire SWM Committee Contacts (15 Members Total)
Restorative Justice has been around for a long time, but it’s only recently starting to take hold in the U.S., to great effect. MA can be a national trailblazer in showing the way for a more healthy alternative to punitive measures.
We typically spend about $50,000 per year, per inmate, to keep someone in jail – and yet there is no single factor more determinative of future incarceration than a prior incarceration. D.A. Stanley Garnett (Boulder County, CO) says that restorative justice “saves time, money, and is not just a pipe dream solution.”
Restorative Justice works – saving money, reducing recidivism by 50% or more, and helping communities to address the causes of crime at a deeper level. And it is showing high satisfaction rates among victims, offenders, communities, and officials within the law enforcement and corrections fields.
A key provision of this bill provides a way to avoid involvement with the court while still accepting responsibility for the harm caused and creating, agreeing upon, and taking steps to repair it.
Please click on this link to connect with your Senator, and use the sample letter or share in your own words why Restorative Justice is an efficient, effective, and valuable resource that Massachusetts is ready to develop!
Share this message with everyone in your network!
Let’s do this!
MORE ABOUT RESTORATIVE JUSTICE
Restorative justice refers to processes derived from indigenous people to redress wrongdoing and bring people back into right relationship. It brings together the people most directly involved and members of the community to explore what harm occurred and what needs to be done and by whom to repair the harm to the greatest extent possible. Harm needs to be repaired for the person(s) most directly harmed, the community, and the person who caused the harm. It can be helpful to frame the repair of harm to the person who caused the harm in terms of what will assist him or her to make future choices that meet the need without harming self or others.
There are many variations on restorative justice processes that are called by names such as peacemaking circles, healing circles,community accountability boards or panels, council process, etc. One good measure of whether or not they are restorative is their adherence to the principles and values of restorative practice (see below).
Restorative practices is an umbrella term that refers to a wide range of activities that derive from restorative justice. They are all alike in that they adhere to a basic set of principles and values as expressed in the 5 R’s (Relationship, Respect, Responsibility, Repair and Reintegration) and are generally characterized by the use of a facilitated, circle talking process. The use of restorative language by school staff and in school discipline policies may be considered practices also, though they don’t involve a circle process.
Restorative practices may be used to increase connections among people and enhance empathy or to resolve conflict and redress grievances and provide accountability for wrongdoing. When the practices are used to address the violation of a law or school rule, it is restorative justice. What connects all of the practices under the term “restorative” is that they focus on establishing or re-establishing harmonious relationships among people.