During June, a month filled with summer vacations for many, our team and Empathy Leaders were hard at work and getting fantastic results. In states such as Arizona, Pennsylvania and Oregon, we saw important movements on policies that impact incarcerated or formerly incarcerated individuals.
Consequently, our legislative work is only a fraction of what we do. We also continued statewide educational campaigns and continued to prepare for our 2023 Dream.Org Justice Cohort. In another June highlight, Dream.Org directly impacted staff members were pleased to join our partners at the Clean Slate Initiative annual convening and to participate in various panel discussions, to showcase our work around the nation.
We are happy to say that our efforts along with allies and other groups in AZ was successful. HB 2802 was vetoed by Governor Hobbs. This proposed legislation would significantly reduce the amount of substance required for a sales charge instead of a possession charge, and notably enhance the mandatory minimum sentences.
Staff member Ruby Welch and the Arkansas team continue to build criminal justice reform support around the state with community conversations and meetings in August. In addition, Ruby continues to hold classes to educate incarcerated individuals in the Pulaski County jail, increasing their likelihood of a successful re-entry upon release.
Our Campaign Coordinator, John Bowman, continued the “Public Health is Public Safety'' campaign. John and team held a new event in Louisville. These events have a wide, diverse turnout and represent the communities’ desire to engage and learn more about advocacy. Add media about Louisville event here!
Our Mississippi Empathy Leader and other allies continue to plan for the 2024 legislative session.
Dream.Org is also looking forward to continued training with the directly impacted folks in the state who attended Day of Empathy and joined us in advocating for criminal justice reform.
In Missouri, our Empathy Leader held a legislative wrap up with over 30 Missourians in attendance. These directly impacted individuals are eager to continue building a better Missouri and are already planning for their efforts in 2024.
HB 2535, a bill that provides access to doulas for pregnant people who are incarcerated, has passed and is awaiting the Governor's signature!! This bill passed UNANIMOUSLY through both chambers!!
Working with our partners at the American Conservative Union and our Empathy Leader Tonie Willis, PA Dignity bill HB 900 continues to be our priority.We are excited to announce that this bill passed unanimously through the PA House of Representatives! We look forward to working with the Senate in the following months.
Since HB 1324 has been signed into law, we have begun looking to the future. Our Empathy Leader Eugene Youngblood will be back next year to push for retroactivity for this powerful policy.
We continue to push for the Dignity Bill in Wisconsin. This bill would prohibit shackling of pregnant and postpartum people, provide doulas for incarcerated women, and include other meaningful reforms that improve maternal and infant health.
SB 38 & AB 37 are still a focus for the upcoming legislative session. These bills would expand expungement and ultimately provide more opportunities for people who have past experience with the criminal legal system.
The Justice team at Dream.Org and our incredible Empathy Leaders continue to fight to change the landscape of criminal justice in our country. Donate to support our movement led by directly impacted leaders. No matter how big or small, every contribution adds up and helps us make the dream of a world beyond mass incarceration a reality.