The Boston Globe has taken a position against a five-year moratorium on the construction of new jails and prisons. Here are five reasons why The Globe is wrong.
First, and most important: The language in the capital bond bill (https://malegislature.gov/Bills/192/H5065) permits repairs and renovations that do not increase capacity. To say otherwise willfully spreads misinformation. Shame on The Globe for leaning into hyperbole.
Second: The Globe states that “people will commit crimes” and then asks us to believe that the only way to address this is by building new prisons. This is a dangerous and faulty leap. The Globe is irresponsibly silent about shifting investments from mass incarceration to address the known and glaring root causes of crime – often economic-related, often addiction-related, and often fueled by glaring inequities. Policies and investments are changing. This is not about sainthood, as The Globe states. It’s about effective, equity-centered policy and budget priorities.
Third: The moratorium movement is led by and for formerly incarcerated women and their families. The Globe cruelly accuses these advocates and allies of a “single-mindedness” that ignores the needs of incarcerated people. The core organizers behind this movement know, far better than The Globe, the realities of what it means to live behind bars. Organizers and allies are not ignoring the wellbeing of incarcerated individuals. They are channeling justifiable urgency for a new day.
Fourth: The Globe endorses the Ripples Group’s proposal for a new women’s “rehabilitation center.” What The Globe fails to realize is that, no matter what the DOC calls it, a prison is a prison and there is no such thing as trauma-informed incarceration. Incarceration is inherently traumatic.
Finally and fifth: Nowhere in its misleading editorial does The Globe even acknowledge the efficacy of alternatives to incarceration – solutions proven to be more humane, to lower recidivism, and to save taxpayer dollars in study after study after study. The Globe insinuates that legislators are ignoring the “facts on the ground.” But this editorial leads me to believe that The Globe is, in fact, entirely ignoring the extensive research, data, and movements in many other states which resoundingly support alternatives to incarceration.