Cabral on Jail Calls Amendment, Budget Wins for New Bedford
One of the most discussed issues during this year’s budget debate in Beacon Hill was how the Legislature would respond to the recent Supreme Court Judicial decision that reaffirmed the ability of county sheriff’s departments to generate income by collecting charges for prison appeals.
This authority, though granted by state law and celebrated by Bristol County Sheriff Tom Hodgson as a “victory for the ratepayers”, is seen by many state Democrats as a moral wrong. which only exacerbates the problems of inequality in the justice system.
State Rep. Tony Cabral (D – New Bedford), who served as a counterweight to Sheriff Hodgson’s notions of correctional justice, recently joined me on the air to discuss, among other things, an amendment passed by the State House that will end the practice of charging primarily low-income Commonwealth residents for jail calls.
“At the end of the day, who pays for these calls? It’s the families who pay for these calls,” Cabral said. “Many of these families are really struggling to survive and are burdened with huge phone bills.”
The version of the House amendment prohibits charging inmates for jail calls and sets aside a $20 million trust to pay for calls and compensate sheriff’s offices for lost revenue. Cabral said he is confident that whether or not an amendment makes it into the Senate version of the budget, the conference committee will adopt the House version in the final budget bill.
In FY23, New Bedford will receive more than $25 million in unrestricted government assistance for the city budget. Cabral discussed securing specific line items for New Bedford, which included $80,000 for youth programs at Dennison Memorial, $50,000 for opioid abuse treatment at Greater New Bedford Community Health Center , $75,000 for AHA!, $50,000 for programming at Fredrick Douglass House, $25,000 for youth learning at the New Bedford Festival Theatre, $25,000 for new citizenship and labor education for the Immigrants Assistance Center and $50,000 for the Zeiterion Theatre.
Although funding for the Zeiterion has been the subject of some controversy after Mayor Jon Mitchell announced a $5 million ARPA allocation to the theater, Cabral argues that the performing arts center is a significant driver of economic growth and youth outreach in the city.
“It’s the premier performing arts center, not just in New Bedford but for the region,” he said. “It has such a positive impact on the economy as a whole. When you have an event hosted by the Zeiterion or in the summer by the New Bedford Festival theatre, when you go downtown, every seat is booked.”
Cabral also discussed public funding of more than $199,000,000 for New Bedford Public Schools, an increase of $25 million from the prior fiscal year. Cabral said this is the second in a seven-year state commitment to increase funding through the landmark Student Opportunity Act legislation that was signed into state law in 2019.
“It was designed to really help communities like New Bedford,” Cabral said. “It’s not for bricks and mortar. It’s for education. It’s for the classroom. It’s for the curriculum and for the support programs that we need, complementary programs that we might need to meet the needs of a particular student, or a particular family, or a particular group of students.I think we have a great opportunity here to place New Bedford Public Schools at a whole other level.
You can listen to the full interview with Representative Cabral at The Marcus Ferro Show at 4:40 p.m. below:
Massachusetts Laws You Don’t Even Know You’re Breaking
There are plenty of weird laws still in effect in Massachusetts, many of which also come with penalties and fines. While we’re pretty sure no one has been arrested for the crimes we’re about to list, we’re also pretty sure you’ve broken at least one of these laws in the past month. about.
WATCH: What are the main laws passed in the year you were born?
The data in this list was acquired from reliable online sources and media. Read on to find out which major law was passed the year you were born and find out its name, vote count (if any), and its impact and significance.