Last week, Lisa Hewitt, the General Counsel of the Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS), and Barbara Dougan, Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM), led a roundtable discussion with the PILP 12 class about current sentencing reform and mandatory minimum reform initiatives in the Commonwealth.
After an informative and energetic discussion, Beyond the Billable checked in with members of PILP 12 to get their perspective on the talk:
“It was extremely surprising to learn how Massachusetts compares to the rest of the nation—for a state considered so liberal, our sentencing laws are quite punitive. Lisa and Barbara’s discussion was an inspiration to educate my colleagues and peers and to reach out to legislators in support of eliminating mandatory minimums and eradicating the three strikes law.”– Chelsea Dunn, CPCS | Children and Family Law Division
“Lisa Hewitt met with the PILP group to discuss the evolution of sentencing policies at the state and federal level, and the current need for sentencing reform, particularly for non-violent drug offenders. As CPCS’s primary liaison to the state legislature, Lisa was able to provide unique insight into her agency’s efforts to advance sentencing reform here in Massachusetts.”– Mike Homer, Ropes & Gray LLP
“The speakers noted the trickle-down effect on defendants who receive mandatory minimum sentences, and what services and treatment might be available to them in jail or prison. This is notable because many people don’t appreciate that these punishments encompass much more than simply the length of time that an individual may serve and help perpetuate a cycle where such criminal defendants find it much more difficult to rehabilitate into productive members of society.”– David Hartnagel, Sheehan Phinney Bass + Green PA