.

Three Strikes and We're Out

Mara Dolan, candidate for the Democratic nomination for the seat currently held by retiring Sen. Susan Fargo, explains why she's "completely opposed" to proposed habitual offender legislation.

Voters in the Sept. 6 primary for the Democratic nomination for the Massachusetts State Senate, 3rd Middlesex District, the seat currently held by Sen. Susan Fargo, need to know how the candidates stand on one of the most critical issues in the Commonwealth today: The proposed habitual offender bill, also known as "Three Strikes."

I am completely opposed to the proposed habitual offender legislation. As a public defender, I have seen far too many cases where minimum mandatory sentencing has forced courts to impose unjust sentences which neither rehabilitate nor deter repeat offenses. The bill before the Governor would put more people in prison and keep them there longer, at a cost of nearly $50,000 per prisoner per year. The bill would deprive judges of any ability to depart from required minimum mandatory sentences for habitual offenders, regardless of the individual circumstances of the case.

We need to repeal minimum mandatory sentencing, not expand it. An overwhelming number of defendants are charged with crimes that arise from drug and alcohol abuse. William Bratton, former Boston Police Commissioner, has said that 90 percent of all crimes are related to drug and/or alcohol abuse. We are incarcerating non-violent offenders who need drug and alcohol treatment, education, job training, and counseling.

As a social worker, I understand how much better people want their lives to be, and how eager they are for the help they need to succeed. For less than what we pay to incarcerate non-violent offenders, we could provide the accused with social workers who could work with them to help them succeed, get the counseling, education, and job skills training they need so that they can give back to society.

There is no question that those who pose a danger to society should be kept in secure facilities. Judges should have the discretion to order those individuals held, in custody, where they will pose no danger to the public. But forcing judges to impose an unjust sentence that does nothing to either rehabilitate nor deter is not only ineffective and inexpensive, it's just plain wrong. It's time to get smart on crime, face the facts, and have criminal justice laws that solve the problems, not add to them.

Mara Dolan, Candidate
Massachusetts State Senate
3rd Middlesex District

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Iron Mike August 12, 2012 at 07:51 PM
The ISSUE is Mara Dolan's soft-on-repeat-offenders position. She doesn't like the 3 Strikes bill. She wants to focus on 'rehabilitation'. Sadly just two days ago William Bryant Moseley - who shot his first wife in the face in 1996 – gave us a perfect example why rehabilitation is a myth. He strangled his second wife. Now we'll pay for more legal defense, psychiatric exams, court appearances, etc. We need the DEATH PENALTY back, and Mara opposes it. What happened in Tucson and Colorado ~ could ~ easily have happened here. Well, it did – at Edgewater Technologies.
Bill Montague August 12, 2012 at 08:53 PM
I am finished! This discussion has gone off the subject of Mara. Bill Montague
Irene August 13, 2012 at 07:57 AM
And what of the victims. I did not read one sentence about the long lasting, sometimes permanent effects on the victims. Have you ever been a victim? Life threatened? Family threatened? Not a violent crime yet? To the victim it is. And yes, I am a survivor. The next victim was not. When does the non-violent lead to violence? It's all about money? Why would the cost be prohibitive? Prisons should only provide basic survival. Nothing more. The prisoner adjusts to the level of financing, not the other way around.
Sue D'Amore August 13, 2012 at 11:11 AM
LOL - SilverMike
Iron Mike August 13, 2012 at 11:14 AM
Thank you Irene! You are correct, and it's often worse here – offenders get out early and victims are routinely not even warned. Just yesterday 10 people were shot / 3 killed in Roxbury, Roslindale and Dorchester. Wanna bet the shooters all have records? Wanna bet they all got light or suspended sentences? Folks, go tell Mara that 'soft on crime' just means the next victims get hurt sooner!

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »