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Trinity Chapel’s Outreach Forums to focus on drug sentencing laws

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Trinity Chapel’s Outreach Forum is excited to announce its Oct. 21 program about efforts to reform the state’s drug sentencing laws, led by Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM).

The program is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served at 7 p.m. The program will start at 7:30 p.m. and end promptly at 9 p.m.

Barbara J. Dougan, director of FAMM’s Massachusetts project, will describe current drug sentencing laws and FAMM’s efforts to change them. According to Dougan, “The state’s mandatory minimum sentencing laws for drug offenses were first passed in the 1980’s. After 30 years, it’s very clear that they don’t work — drug offenses haven’t been reduced and drug addiction is currently a public health crisis in Massachusetts. Yet taxpayers are still footing the bill for failed policies that treat drug abuse as a criminal justice issue. We can’t incarcerate our way out of the addiction epidemic.”

Bonnie DiToro, from Lunenburg, will describe how she was sentenced to 15 years in prison for playing a minor role in a nonviolent drug offense.

Fortunately, there is a growing movement for change. In 2010 and 2012, the state Legislature started to chip away at mandatory minimums for drugs. At the federal level, drug sentencing reform is one of the few issues to enjoy bipartisan support.

Trinity Chapel is a warm, friendly and family-oriented Protestant Episcopal congregation located one-quarter mile from the Common on Center Road in historic Shirley Center. Our Outreach Forums were created two years ago.

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