SENATE BILL 2078: AN ACT PROMOTING RESTORATIVE JUSTICE PRACTICES
The idea for restorative justice legislation in Massachusetts came when Howard Zehr, the major proponent of restorative justice in the United States, held a public forum at the First Parish Church in Concord, MA. The event is well attended and Sen. Eldridge (D-Acton) offered public comments at a reception afterwards indicating his interest in submitting an “enabling” bill to expand restorative justice in the Commonwealth. He did exactly that in 2011. Between 2013 and the present several versions of the bill have been introduced. Each year the interest increases. A group of supporters, the Massachusetts Restorative Justice Coalition (MARJC) began to track the work of the bill and to help build capacity for support. Our RJ has participated in MARJC from 2014 to the present. Together with other MARJC participants, Our RJ has worked on improving the content of the bill, has repeatedly testified before both house and senate committees at public hearings and has assured that the voices of underrepresented communities of color who support restorative justice are heard as further modifications to the bill are considered.