Sample Letter to Your Legislator

Below is a sample letter to your elected state representative or senator urging him or her to promote smart, sensible correction policies in Massachusetts by voting against the ‘Three Strikes’ Legislation. Please feel free to customize this letter by inserting a personal line or two to increase effectiveness.

Your Name

Address

City, State, Zip Code

Phone number

[insert date]

The Honorable [insert full name]

Address

City, State, Zip Code

Dear Representative [or Senator] [insert last name]:

As a resident of XXXXX and a concerned citizen of the Commonwealth, I am writing to strongly urge you to oppose any new three-strikes bill that will amend the existing Habitual Offender laws. These laws have been the cause of wasted tax dollars and resources and have had dramatic negative effects in the states where they have already been implemented.

The amendments to Chapter 279, §25 in S.2080 and H.3818 will overwhelm the Massachusetts criminal justice system, which is already in a state of crisis, by generating a dramatic increase in prison sentences and additional costs of at least $75 million per year.

The end result of either of the proposed habitual offender or “three strikes” laws will be dramatically increased costs for the Department of Correction, county correctional facilities, and the court system; exacerbation of existing overcrowding at state prisons and county correctional facilities; and imposition of disproportionate punishments. Inevitably, incarcerating more prisoners for longer sentences will cost taxpayers more money.

If no reforms are made to mandatory minimum sentences and if sentences are longer, Massachusetts will have no option but to build new prisons. In California after a three-strikes law passed, 24 new prisons were built in a 25 year period. In the end, the taxpayers paid for California’s mistake, and the Supreme Court ordered thousands of prisoners released due to severe overcrowding. This is a mistake Massachusetts simply cannot afford to make.

I urge you and the legislature to develop and implement smart prison reform that will reduce recidivism and save tax dollars. I would appreciate a written reply that states where you currently stand on this issue.

Thank you for your time and consideration and look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

[Your name]