Following the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) Law for the People Convention in October, NLG membership adopted a resolution calling for the dismantling and abolition of all prisons and of all aspects of systems and institutions that support, condone, create, fill, or protect prisons. The U.S. currently holds the world’s largest prison population at a cost of $80 billion per year, and spends six times more on prisons than education.
Urszula Masny-Latos, executive director of the Massachusetts chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, says, “Massachusetts’ physicians often struggle between following Department of Health guidelines or following inconsistent internal policies relayed by correctional officers. Often times, pregnant women depend on their physicians to advocate on their behalf to demand that correctional officers remove their shackles.”
Since the Massachusetts chapter formed the Litigation Committee in the spring of 2011, we have actively pursued cases that promote social, political, and economic justice on the local level. The project has won great victories, effecting change in areas ranging from prisoners’ rights in Essex County to Boston police practices around tenants in foreclosed properties.