A Pair of Upcoming Events Address Criminal Justice Reform in Massachusetts

Compiled by The Bedford Citizen

A pair of events, the free screening of Jenny Phillips’s film Beyond the Wall on Saturday and a panel featuring Sen. Mike Barrett and others in Concord on February 17, will address criminal justice reform.

Beyond the Wall, a film by Jenny Phillips – A free screening at the Lexington Venue Theatre

Beyond the Wall follows the lives and stories of a small community of men released from prison and attempting to rebuild their lives with little support from the criminal justice system. Through this compelling and personal account, the film vividly shows their struggles to survive beyond prison walls.  This free screening is sponsored by First Parish Bedford, Follen Community Church, and First Parish Lexington on Saturday, February 11 at 10 am in the Lexington Venue Theater 1794 Mass Ave. Lexington, MA 02420

Middlesex County Sheriff Peter Koutoujian calls this new documentary “Riviting, gritty, a powerful, and provocative – it is real life”€ The film could not be more local; it is written and produced by Concord filmmaker Jenny Phillips, and filmed at the Billerica House of Correction/Middlesex Jail. Jenny and the main character Louie Diaz will be present after the film for conversation. The film strives to break down common stereotypes and barriers, and stimulate new conversations about re-entry and support preparations of individuals for release.

Please join us in moving forward in conversation and action on criminal justice reform. These once-incarcerated individuals are our neighbors, friends and family in need of understanding and support.

Criminal Justice in Massachusetts: How It’s Broken and Ways to Fix It: – A panel at First Parish Concord

Bryan Stevenson, lawyer and activist, has written: “We have a system of justice that treats you much better if you’re rich and guilty than if you’re poor and innocent.” 

Bedford’s State Senator Mike Barrett – Courtesy image

In Massachusetts, many policies work against equal and fair treatment of citizens who enter the criminal justice system. Please join us for a panel discussion with three people who have been affected by unjust policies and/or worked toward reducing mass incarceration and its far-reaching consequences for individuals and society at large.

The panel will take place at 7 pm on Thursday, February 16 at First Parish in Concord, 20 Lexington Road. Panelists will share personal experiences, explain legislative initiatives and provide concrete suggestions on how attendees can help establish a more just system.  Participants include

  • State Senator Mike Barrett, D-Lexington, Chair of the senate’s investigative committee, has just released a first-of-its-kind report on “fine time” in Massachusetts – the practice by district court judges of incarcerating defendants solely for failure to pay fines, fees or court costs. Sen. Barrett has filed a new bill to correct this injustice.
  • Clarence Blevins was recently released after serving a number of years in prison. He will speak about his personal experience within the criminal justice system and the difficulties of transitional reentry.
  • Louellyn Lambros is on the steering committee of EMIT (End Mass Incarceration Together). EMIT has partnered with UU Mass Action to address the injustices of our judicial and corrections systems. She will discuss ways attendees can help reverse mass incarceration.

For more information contact Leslie Fisher at lmailto:lesliefisher@treitman.com.

 

 

Keep our journalism strong! Support The Citizen Journalism Fund today. Contact The Bedford Citizen: editor@thebedfordcitizen.org or 781-325-8606

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