Prisoners’ Legal Services of Massachusetts Statement on Governor Baker’s Latest Amendments to Incarceration-Related Bills
Governor Baker is refusing to sign a law that would provide free calls in prisons and jails, holding it hostage to try to force passage of a “dangerousness” bill that would expand pre-trial incarceration. This is unconscionable. Removing charges from prison phone calls will help keep prisons safer, give children and loved ones of those in prison a lifeline, and help incarcerated people succeed when they reenter our communities.
Expanding the reach of incarceration will not improve safety. Many incarcerated people are survivors of violence both prior to and during their imprisonment. We deeply respect the lived experiences of survivors and see the ways in which incarceration compounds trauma and destroys communities and connection that are critical for public safety and violence prevention.
Addressing violence requires building strong communities, and no cost calls are critical to keep families and communities connected during the trauma and separation of incarceration. Shame on Governor Baker for threatening this important achievement in the name of public safety.
We thank Chairs Day and Eldridge and the Judiciary committee for listening to survivors and those impacted by violence and listening to prison families who desperately need communication. We call on Governor Baker to stop holding No Cost Calls hostage and sign it into law. We also urge legislators to do all in their power to pass no cost calls without weakening the language, and to reject Governor Baker’s proposed dangerousness provisions.