A Letter From a Prisoner-Advocate

This was from April and have gained permission to publish it here. How the DOC prevents such contact also, in my opinion, impedes growth.

Hello this is Blase Provitola. Even though you do not know who I am I could not resist contacting you.

There are 2 reasons ; the first that I worked with Karter Reed for years in MCI Shirley, since 2000, in a Menswork Men’s Circle that meets every Tues night and the Menswork curriculm classes I teach there. Second, what a gift your book is. To bring much needed awareness to people and especially the system to stop the long term punishment/altering of young men.

I work with men younger than Karter and it’s so sad to witness the struggle and the impact of prison life on them. So thanks for your work and commitment of course to Karter for having the courage to speak his truth with sensitivity and his willingness to help make a difference from his life experience.

I’m heading in to Porter Square on Tuesday and look forward to meeting you. I’m hoping Karter will be there. I can not make contact with him unless the DOC lets me and they won’t. I would not want to jeopardize his parole. He’s a friend who I care about and he ‘s such a great power of example to those trying to live above the line. Please send my love to him!

In spirit


Who Will Be Your Next Sheriff?


See my newest post at Boston Magazine on “Who Will Be Your Next Sheriff?”

“You might not think a sheriff’s important to your life, but guess what? Massachusetts sheriffs are in office for six years, even longer than the four years that governors serve. And since this coming November 2016, in all 14 counties, sheriffs are up for reelection, you might want to consider who’s going to manage your county’s prisons and jails, and determine how more than half a billion dollars of taxpayer money will be spent…” More

One More Call For Juvenile Justice

The Amendments for the JJ Bill are problematic. In particular #1, #5 and #11. Take ONE MORE STEP:  PLEASE call your senators and ask them to Vote YES on S.2417 and NO on amendments #1, #5, #11 (as most harmful).  Explanations are below

Amendments #1 and #11, filed by Senators Brownsberger and Tarr, would do away completely with the expungement provisions of this bill.
Amendment #5, filed by Senator Tarr, would strike out reforms to exclude very young children (7 to 10 year olds) from juvenile jurisdiction
Please call again today and ask your Senator to REJECT these three amendments:

Find Your State Senator here.
Call the State House Switchboard at 617-722-2000 and ask to be connected to your State Senator’s office.

Sample script:
My name is __________. I am a constituent of the Senator and I live in__________. The Senate will debate S.2417, an omnibus Juvenile Justice bill and I ask that s/he vote YES on this bill.  I also ask that the Senator reject three harmful amendments to this bill:

Amendments #1 and #11 will deny reasonable efforts to allow young people move on beyond their past transgressions.  These amendments would prevent the expungement of juvenile records, even if the case was dismissed, or was years or decades old.
Amendment #5 would keep very young, elementary school age children subject to delinquency proceedings.  These Processing very young children is a waste of court’s limited resources, as they will highly unlikely be found competent to stand trial.
Thank you!


Amendment 1 – Removal of certain sections (Brownsberger)
Strikes out the entire section on expungement
Strikes out the entire section on youth status and DOC/HOC young adult programming
Strikes out language prohibiting the prosecution of child victims of sex trafficking
Removes the intra-family victim exception to parent-child privilege

Amendment 2 – Prohibiting Juvenile Solitary Confinement (Chang-Diaz and Eldridge)
Bans solitary confinement for prisoners under age 18 (but only in prisons and jails)

Amendment 3 – decriminalizing non-violent and verbal student behavior (Jehlen)
Disturbing public assembly and disorderly conduct offenses for students

Amendment 4 – further defining the role of school resource officers (Jehlen)
School Resource officer MOU bill

Amendment 5 – Jurisdiction (Tarr)
Strikes out language that would exclude very young children (7-10) from delinquency proceedings

Amendment 6 – Youth Mitigating Factor (Tarr)
Strikes out youth status language for juveniles, but keeps language authorizing DOC/HOC to provide programming for young adults

Amendment 7 – Habitual Offender (Tarr)
Three strikes language for adults

Amendment 8 – Finding of Delinquency on second and subsequent (Tarr)
Specifies that offenses that are only a fine for the first offense will have a delinquency finding for the second or subsequent offense

Amendment 9 – Addition of a district attorney to the juvenile justice data taskforce (Lovely)

Amendment 10 – Court discretion (Lovely)
Changes expungement for misdemeanor from automatic to discretionary

Amendment 11 – Expungement (Moore)
Strikes out expungement

Amendment 12 – Task Force Members (Moore)
Adds the president of the Massachusetts District Attorney’s Association; the president of the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police to data collection task force

Amendment 13 – Corrective Amendment
Clarifies that “restraints” not the “child” shall be removed from the court
Clarifies that youth status and adult sentencing is only for juveniles subject to adult sentences not for delinquency cases
Clarifies right to counsel with better grammar
Adds MDAA and Mass Police Chiefs to data collection task force

MA ACTION ALERT- Contact Senators NOW for JJ

As many of you know, CfJJ and many others have been advocating for comprehensive, juvenile justice reform for the last year and a half.  Yesterday, the MA Senate — with amazing work from dedicated, tireless champions Senator Karen SpilkaSenator Cynthia CreemSenator Will Brownsberger, and Senator Dan Wolf — have reported a bill that would result in meaningful, critical progress on a huge host of issues.  We are tremendously excited about this opportunity, but WE NEED YOUR HELP NOW to get this a favorable vote.The Massachusetts Senate will be debating the Juvenile Justice omnibus bill on Tuesday.We need you to reach out to your State Senators over the weekend through social media and ask your Senators to vote YES on Senate bill 2417.

Sample Talking Points (highlight 2 or 3 in your social media posts to your legislators)

  • Vote #YESonS2417 Tuesday!  MA Kids deserve smart JJ Reform. #mapoli 
  • This bill would divert youth with low level offenses from going deeper into the justice system and will improve both public safety and outcomes for youth who do enter the system. #YESonS2417
  • Ban practices that can cause short and long-term harm to healthy development like arresting and arraigning very young children and indiscriminate shackling of children in court #YESonS2417 
  • Massachusetts spends hundreds of thousands of dollars to incarcerate youth who are of no threat to our communities, harming children and making them more likely to commit future offenses. #YESonS2417 
  • Allow for the expungement juvenile records in certain cases to ensure that youth are not burdened by a minor record as they enter adulthood  #ExpungeMA #YESonS2417
  • Keep very young, elementary school age children out of our delinquency system #YESonS2417 
  • Ensure that children are no longer treated more harshly than adults for certain minor offenses #YESonS2417 
  • Promote developmentally appropriate programming for young adults who are incarcerated #YESonS2417
  • By failing to collect basic information on justice-involved children and youth, MA can not set policy and funding decision to assess and ensure the fairness and effectiveness of the juvenile justice system. #YESonS2417
  • Create a task force to analyze and make recommendations to improve data collection and transparency in the juvenile justice system #YESonS2417

Thank you!