Massachusetts Facing Strong Opposition on Plan to Build $50 Million Prison for Women
Date:  01-14-2020

Families for Justice as Healing leads fight for alternatives to incarceration rather than building a new one
From Liberation News:

December 30, 2019 brought overcast skies and the final convening of the Panel on Justice-Involved Women for the year. The state appointed panel, charged with examining the impact of Massachusetts’ criminal justice system on women and making relevant policy recommendations to lawmakers, met on the 21st floor of the John W. McCormack State Office Building. Discussion at the meeting was dominated by a new request for proposal released by the Department of Capital Asset Assessment and Management in collaboration with the Department of Correction, and about 25 community members — many representing the local organization Families for Justice as Healing — attended the meeting to voice opposition to the RFP.

The RFP was publicly announced on December 4, 2019, and the fast approaching January 8 deadline had panelists, who received no formal notice of its existence, scrambling to get ahead of it.

The debate regarding the RFP demonstrated political differences between the Panel’s members. The two FJAH representatives on the Panel, Founder Andrea James and Executive Director Mallory Hanora, urged the Panel to call for the cessation or pausing of the RFP process. James and Hanora argued that if the Panel on Justice-Involved Women is not consulted on such major decisions regarding women’s incarceration in Massachusetts, then the Panel’s influence and purpose have to be called into question. James and Hanora also insisted that the Panel and the state must consider options for de-incarceration, such as pretrial release and medical parole, rather than spending so much public money on prison construction. Director of Programs for FJAH Ayana Auborg told Liberation News, “Our role is to bring the voices of those who are directly impacted, who are women who have survived incarceration, into every aspect of the decision-making process… to raise the threshold on what could be possible, and how can we move away from investing in or re-imagining prisons into just creating solutions that are community-based in a way that’s not creating more harm. And how we can, at the end goal, de-incarcerate women and end the incarceration of women and girls.” Continue reading >>>