As lawmakers consider free phone calls, expensive video calls come to Mass prisons
New book reveals potential pitfalls for those seeking justice reforms.
“When COVID first started, I didn’t hear from him. You don’t know what it feels like to not know if your loved one is alive or dead.”
“It’s impossible to advocate for someone [in court] over the telephone. … Anything you say or your client says is heard by everyone.”
“Most prisons and many jails have done very little to reduce the population density that puts both incarcerated people and staff at grave risk.”
To keep people locked up despite the looming threat of coronavirus, officials are claiming prisoners lack community ties. Advocates and family members say that’s not the case.
“This call for releases is not the advocacy community trying to capitalize on an opportunity to decarcerate … Prison health care is already overstressed and a lack of response will absolutely kill people.”
What Mass lawmakers can learn about parole from the battle to end death by incarceration across the country. “To see the transformation of those who have caused harm is important for those who have been harmed.”
As the only man left on death row, an African-American in a state that is 93% Caucasian, sitting in the secure housing unit at the New Hampshire State Prison for Men, he seemed far from the concerns of the candidates on stage.
Who oversees parole in Mass? What motivates decisions? Does the outcome help the Commonwealth? Will the addition of another career prosecutor tilt the Mass parole board away from second chances?