See the Bulletin from our February Meet-Up by clicking below!
Please join Project MI for Part 1 of our 2018 Youth Advocates Digital Campaign! In Part 1 of our campaign running from 2/6/18 to 2/8/18, we are asking Project MI members, partners, and supporters to contact legislators, in a coordinated effort, to support/oppose legislation impacting Tennessee youth and criminal justice.
For tips and training on how to contact your legislators, please see this video link which will connect you to our 2018 Youth Legislation Informational and Training (the separate Powerpoint for the session can be found here). The training also includes highlights about various pending legislation.
Additionally, this worksheet and telephone call script are excellent tools to help you get started on what to say when you speak to legislators. Remember to be brief, professional, and polite in your contact–also relate your support to a personal story if you have one. Project MI recommends focusing on the bills you feel most passionately about in your contact.
[CONTACT TODAY 2/6/18 IF POSSIBLE]
Project MI is in support of HB 0135 concerning Tennessee’s 51-to-life law. In the 1980s and 1990s Tennessee lawmakers responded to crime with harsh sentencing laws that had little impact on public safety and actually may have made things worse. Now that we know longer sentences do not equal safer communities, we need to change our approach.
As introduced, this bill would permit a person sentenced to life imprisonment to become eligible for parole release after serving 36 years in prison (and in no event less than 25 years, including sentence reduction credits). The bill is retroactive, so would allow an incarcerated person convicted under prior law to request parole eligibility consistent with this new law if it passes.
The reasons you should support this bill:
Contact your representatives TODAY BY PHONE about HB 0135 in support of this bill. HB 0135 is currently with the Senate Judiciary Committee and on its calendar for consideration TODAY (2/6/18). You can can find your legislators here by entering your address in the “Find MY Legislator” screen. Also, please contact members of the Judiciary Committee, which can be found here, especially those members that are also your own representatives.
While contacting your representatives, please also express your support of HB 2271. The state of Tennessee is in desperate need of juvenile justice reform that will lead to less youth in detention and better results for our youth. HB 2271 as introduced enacts the “Juvenile Justice Reform Act of 2018.”
Although the Juvenile Justice Reform Act bill is quite lengthy and substantial, here are some of the highlights and why you should support it:
Contact your representatives in support of this bill during Part 1 of our campaign (2/6 through 2/8) by your preferred method of contact (phone call, email, in-person visit). You can can find your representatives here by entering your address in the “Find My Legislator” fields. HB 2271 is currently with the Senate Judiciary Committee. So please also take time to contact members of the Criminal Justice Sub-Committee, whom can be found here, especially those members that are also your own representatives.
Join us for our additional upcoming Digital Campaign dates!
Mon., 2/12/18 to Wed., 2/14/18
Mon., 2/19/18 to Wed., 2/21/18
Mon., 2/26/18 to Wed., 2/28/18
Finally, thanks to all that attended our 2018 Legislation Informational and Training last night. A special thanks to attorney and youth justice fellow LaChina McKinney and law student research fellow Noor Obaji who helped make the session a success!
Please join us for our 2018 Youth Advocates Digital Campaign, which will ask Project MI members and supporters to contact legislators to support/oppose legislation impacting Tennessee youth and criminal justice.
Our Digital Campaign will run on each of the following dates:
Tues., 2/6/18 to Thurs. 2/8/18 Mon., 2/19/18 to Wed., 2/21/18
Mon., 2/12/18 to Wed., 2/14/18 Mon., 2/26/18 to Wed., 2/28/18
On each of the above beginning dates, lookout for further information via the Project MI website or Facebook page to find out what legislation you should contact legislators about. You will also find instructions about which legislators to contact using your preferred method of contact (email, phone or in person).
Please spread the word about our Digital Campaign—the more the better!
This past week, Governor Bill Haslam filed major legislation aimed at a number of youth justice issues including inconsistent policies across Tennessee juvenile courts, and placing limits on the types of offenses for which youth can be detained.
Please join us Monday, February 5th at 6pm at our 2018 Youth Legislation Informational and Training for a breakdown of the proposed Juvenile Justice Reform Act of 2018, as well as information on a number of other legislative measures, under consideration by the Tennessee legislature. We will also provide a brief training on effectively contacting legislators.
You don’t have to be a lawyer or politician to fight laws that are bad for our youth!
Our February Meet-Up next week will focus on 2018 Legislation impacting youth justice in Tennessee. Join us to find out what YOU CAN DO to support the good laws being considered by your legislators and fight the bad!
Happy New Year!
For those interested in our Youth Advocacy Program, our Monday, 1/8 meeting at 6pm at the Law School (1 N Front St.) will be a great one to attend!
In this meet-up we will be recruiting for our Youth Advocacy Program and providing an informational about our work at Carver High School.
After our informational, all committees will meet.
Hope to see you there!
Project MI is excited to announce the “Building Our Communities” Youth Art Competition! All Shelby County high school age youth are invited to visually express their ideas on how to improve our communities. Selected entries will be premiered at our First Annual Youth Activism & Leadership Summit with the theme, “My City, My Voice” on July 28, 2018.
This fall the U.S Supreme Court heard the case of Carlos Ayestas, an indigent felon convicted of first degree murder of a Houston woman in 1999, then later diagnosed with schizophrenia in 2001.
This summer the Supreme Court will decide whether the indigent convicted have a right to funding for experts and other resources at the sentencing phase. Had Ayestas had funding for expert evaluation of his mental condition during the investigation prior to his sentencing hearing, he may have never been sentenced to death.
Ayestas’ undocumented immigrant status at the time of the murder further complicates the issues and adds much fuel to the controversy surrounding this case, especially given President Trump’s promise to prosecute such violators to the fullest extent of the law possible.
The Supreme Court is expected to side with Ayestas, recognizing the critical part mental health plays in the commission of crime.
For more, checkout this article on In Justice Today.