Senator JoyceSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Patrick Joyce (D-Essex) released the following statement after the Senate passed a package of criminal justice reform legislation – House Bill 3653 – in the early hours Wednesday:

“I believe in reform, and I was actively involved in the negotiations of House Bill 3653. I contacted municipalities, pastors, the NAACP and law enforcement in my district to get their input and concerns, and brought that feedback directly to the sponsor so it would be considered as measures were drafted.

“When it came time to vote, I was concerned that a ‘no’ vote might have signaled that I do not think reform is needed—but I was not comfortable voting ‘yes’ on legislation that clearly needed more time and work. I therefore made the conscious choice not to vote on the legislation.

“The legislation would have passed with or without my support, but I felt it was important to make known my concerns that the legislation was rushed through at the last minute, with virtually no time to sort through it. Our criminal justice system could be improved, but last-minute amendments and hasty negotiations will not help us reach that goal. I look forward to continuing the discussion of careful, thoughtful, tailored reforms by engaging all stakeholders and granting this important subject the time it deserves.”