Support SB 71 & Restorative Justice in Massachusetts

Quick Action: Please Write your State Electeds Today and/or Attend Hearing
Help pass SB 71


Hearing Tomorrow: Tuesday, June 16th 1-4pm (Room 437 at Statehouse)

The people of Massachusetts have an important opportunity on Tuesday, June 16th to further support of one of the world’s most powerful peacebuilding tools: Restorative Justice (RJ). Senate Bill 71: An Act Promoting Restorative Practices would support RJ practices in the state. A hearing is scheduled with the Joint Committee on Children Families and Persons with Disabilities. Our champion sponsor, Sen. Jamie Eldridge, and many other officials and community leaders have seen the impact of RJ first-hand.

Restorative justice addresses crime and harm as an issue involving families, communities, and relationships. By meeting the needs of those affected, it nips criminal activity in the bud more effectively than incarceration, and can provide meaningful healing for all involved.

If you would like to attend the hearing in support of the bill, you’ll find the community of enthusiasts in Room 437 at 1-4pm at the State House.

Use this easy tool and write your MA Senator & Representative today! Help pass this bill into law.

Quick Action and Pre-Crafted Letter:

You can use the sample letter as-is, or include or substitute your own language about why restorative justice is so important to you. If you have a particular experience or professional connection to this issue, please share your own words about it near the top of the letter.

Letter to Elected:

Subject: Restorative Justice in MA: Support SB-71

Body Text:

I am writing in support of SB 71: An Act Promoting Restorative Justice Practices, Lead sponsor-Sen. Jamie Eldridge.

This bill would open the door for healthy, efficient, money-saving restorative justice practices to be used in our juvenile and adult criminal system.

Restorative justice approaches across the nation are showing a 50% and higher drop in recidivism, and high satisfaction rates among victims, offenders, communities, and officials within the law enforcement and corrections fields. Report from Sen. Eldridge’s office: S71 and H1313 Fact Sheet_5.12.15.

Massachusetts stands ready to be a pioneer in an emerging national trend toward cost-savings and community-healing through restorative justice. Significant support for this bill comes from the Massachusetts Major City Police Chiefs, 12 other police chiefs, judges and many community groups across the state: SB71 H1313 Supporters 05.13.15.

We spend on average about $50,000 per year, per inmate, to keep someone in jail – and there is no single factor more determinative of incarceration than a prior incarceration.  

Restorative justice looks at all crime as a violation of relationships involving families, communities, relationships and feelings. It asks: what harm was done to whom? How can the harm be repaired? Who is responsible for the repair? It nips criminal activity in the bud more effectively than incarceration, and provides a more healing and thorough response to those who have caused harm and those harmed.

Please give your full support to this important bill.


Please invite your state lawmakers to attend, so they can learn more about this bill. You can copy and paste our handy,  pre-crafted letter above!

Here are details:
Tuesday, June 16th 1-4pm Eastern Time
Room 437 at the State House

Here is a link you can use to get contact information for your area legislators:


“I have seen first-hand the positive effect that restorative justice programs have had on victims, offenders, and our community…. It affords offenders an important opportunity to understand…the true impact of their actions on victims and community.”

– Marian T. Ryan, Middlesex County District Attorney
“This legislation helps offenders break out of the cycle of crime through acts of community service and offers victims the opportunity to receive an explanation and apology from the offender.”
– Sen Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton)
“The courts are overworked. If all the parties can get some satisfaction using
something less elaborate, let’s go for it.
Judges and other court officials would welcome the change.”
– Sen Mike Barrett (D-Lexington)
“As a police officer, I was a skeptic. But I quickly became a believer. I’ve seen this process work.”
– Chief Robert Bongiorno, Bedford Police Dept.
“Restorative justice is a great resource for community members
interested in resilience and wellbeing after harm.”
– Hon. John Cratsley (ret.)

Why RJ Matters


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
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.

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