The ACLU has been consistent with our criticisms of pieces of legislation which lend themselves to the continuance of the statehouse-to-prison pipeline by either creating new crimes or increasing penalties for crimes which already exist. Each legislative session, dozens of bills are introduced, and a number of them passed, which counteract the important work of criminal justice reform, as these new crimes and increased sentences are often arbitrary and almost always unnecessary. The 2020 session is no exception; already, several bills have been heard which would needlessly bolster mass incarceration rather than address the need for reform of the criminal justice system. We testified against the following bills on this basis.
• H 7026 would create a new crime for making a knowingly false 911 call and inflict harsh penalties for conviction.
• H 7027 would increase fines, sentence lengths, and driver’s license suspension periods for the crime of leaving the scene of the accident.
• H 7033 would increase the maximum prison sentence and driver’s license suspension period for the crime of driving to endanger.
• S 2083 would expand the crime of “exploiting the elderly” to subject more defendants to its harsh penalties.