Harm Reduction and Drug Law Reform Caucus Kicks off New Year with Legislative Briefing

Caucus celebrates victories, focuses on 2016 legislative agenda

BOSTON—State Senator Eldridge Jamie (D-Acton) and Representative Tom Sannicandro (D-Ashland), co-chairs of the Harm Reduction and Drug Law Reform Caucus kicked off the first meeting of the year, highlighting recent legislative victories, progress on comprehensive criminal justice legislation, and made a push for caucus members to advocate for the passage of the rest of its legislative priorities.

“The Harm Reduction and Drug Law Reform Caucus is bringing together people around the shared goal of creating a more fair criminal justice system and we are continuing to build momentum to pass comprehensive criminal justice reform that makes a real difference in people’s lives,” said Senator Eldridge. “We celebrated the passage of the repeal of the RMV sanctions law and the Civil Commitment for female prisoners bill, and I look forward to even more progress on legislation in 2016 that brings racial and economic justice to Massachusetts.”

“I am continually inspired by the turn out at these events,” said Representative Sannicandro. “These are tough issues and seeing so many legislators engage with the Caucus reinforces my belief in the will of the legislature to tackle these extremely difficult and critical problems within our criminal justice system.”

Carl Williams, Esq., staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, led a discussion about the direct correlation between incarceration, the War on Drugs, the current opioid epidemic, and racial disparities in the criminal justice system. Representative Sannicandro, in his capacity as the House Chair of the Joint Committee on Higher Education, led a presentation on the need to invest in expansion of higher education for inmates in Massachusetts. The Harm Reduction and Drug Law Reform Caucus also recently launched a new website that lists its priorities, criminal justice statistics and ways people can work together to reform our criminal justice system at http://harmreductionma.org/.

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