The Criminal Justice Policy Coalition Celebrates 20th Anniversary With Renewed Commitment to Reform the Sentence of Life Without Parole

Boston, MA, April 24, 2016 - The Criminal Justice Policy Coalition (CJPC) will mark its 20th anniversary on Tuesday, April 26 with an evening highlighting its campaign to eliminate life without parole sentences in Massachusetts, instead arguing for a maximum sentence that mandates parole review after 25 years of incarceration. This policy proposal is outlined in this recently released report. The event – from 6:15 to 8:00 pm – is free and open to the public and will be held at Roxbury Community College, 1234 Columbus Avenue, Roxbury, Massachusetts in Room 200 of the Student Center.

Michael Meltsner, professor at Northeastern University School of Law, who has written extensively about excessive sentencing, will give the keynote. “The time has come,” Meltsner says, “for the state to abandon cruel and costly life without parole sentencing, and to examine whether it makes sense to release some of the thousand or so men who have been told that regardless of their rehabilitation they will die in prison."

The program will also feature words from people who are incarcerated on the sentence of life without parole as well as their loved ones.

CJPC will award Donald Perry of Project Operation Change in Springfield, Massachusetts the Peg Erlanger Award in honor of his work on parole reform. Peg was an active board member of CJPC and served as the national president of Alternatives to Violence Project her last three years. She was committed to prisoners’ rights and rehabilitation. She was also chair of the board of Our Prison Neighbors, which recruits and organizes volunteers to work with prisoners in Massachusetts’ jails, and for several years, she taught in the emotional literacy project of the Lionheart Foundation in the Concord prisons. CJPC will also honor the founders of the organization, Ros Winsor and Dorothy Weitzman – both retired social workers.

If you would like to attend, register here.

About CJPC: The Criminal Justice Policy Coalition is a member-based, non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of effective, just, and humane criminal justice policy in Massachusetts. We seek to accomplish this by expanding the public discourse on criminal justice, promoting dialogue and cooperation among diverse stakeholders, and building support for policies that better protect our communities, promote accountability and change for offenders, and provide restitution to victims.

Media contact:

Rachel Corey
617-869-2773 or 617-807-0111