Invest in Jobs Instead of Jails

Target: Charlie Baker, Massachusetts Governor

Goal: Invest Massachusetts’ taxpayer dollars in job training and rehabilitation instead of incarceration.

Massachusetts spends $1 billion every year on incarcerating more and more offenders even though the state’s overall crime rate has decreased. Two legislators are trying to pass a bill that would save millions of tax dollars by reducing the state’s rate of incarceration. The bill would reduce some low-level felonies to misdemeanors, repeal mandatory drug sentencing, and change some of the laws that make it hard for people to get jobs after serving a prison sentence. Please express your support for this initiative and help Massachusetts focus on opportunity and rehabilitation instead of incarceration.

The bill was filed by Sonia Chang-Diaz (D) and Mary S. Keefe (D), and uses the slogan “jobs not jails.” It is supported by numerous community organizations in Massachusetts, including the Criminal Justice Policy Coalition, a coalition of organizations like ACLU of Massachusetts and Massachusetts Public Health Association. The state spends more than $47,000 a year to house a single inmate, and this money could be better spent on job training, rehabilitation, and decreasing retention rates. When minor, nonviolent offenders face mandatory sentencing it is more harmful for the individual, the community, and the state. Focusing on rehabilitation could make it easier for offenders to integrate back into society and find alternatives to crime. Focusing on punishing offenders by incarcerating them only makes them more likely to commit more offenses after being released because incarceration makes employment even more difficult to obtain.

A similar bill was recently passed by voters in California, reducing penalties for “nonserious and nonviolent” drug and property crimes. The money saved will be used to support dropout prevention, victim services, and additional programs to keep people out of prison. This approach is much more practical and can halt the rising rates of incarceration in Massachusetts. Please support this bill so that Massachusetts can use its tax dollars to develop communities and individuals instead of incarcerating nonviolent offenders.


Dear Governor Baker,

A bill was recently filed in Massachusetts by Sonia Chang-Diaz (D) and Mary S. Keefe (D). The bill, often referred to as the “jobs not jails” bill, seeks to save millions of tax dollars by reducing the rates of incarceration in Massachusetts and instead use the money for job development. Massachusetts spends more than $1 billion a year on incarceration, and the rates of incarceration in the state keep going up. This is a negative change that is not fixing the root causes of crime and only makes it more difficult for people to stay out of prison. Please support this bill to help Massachusetts take a more efficient and fair path in dealing with crime.

Sending minor and nonviolent offenders to prison makes it almost impossible for them to get a job after serving their time, therefore leaving them crime as their only option. Investing in job development and eliminating laws that prevent offenders from going into the job market can help people reintegrate into society and strengthen our communities. I ask that you promote this important bill, which could transform Massachusetts’ justice system and better protect all of us.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Fcb981 via Wikimedia Commons

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