WCCA TV News and Informatin Round Up: October 15, 2015

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Legislators, Advocates, & Community Leaders Push for Justice Reinvestment

BOSTON – During a Joint Judiciary Committee public hearing today legislators,
advocates, and community leaders joined together to push for comprehensive criminal
justice reform measures that include Justice Reinvestment as a core tenet. Those
present included Senator Sonia Chang-Díaz (Boston) and Representative Mary Keefe
(Worcester) who spoke on their jointly filed bill, the Justice Reinvestment Act (S.
64/ H. 1429). Fran Fjana, attorney with the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute and
representative from the Jobs Not Jails Coalition; Pastor Roland E. Cooper, Senior
Associate Pastor of Jubilee Christian Church in Boston; and Reverend Paul R. Ford,
Executive Director of the Boston Workers Alliance also spoke in support of the bill.

Incarceration is expensive, costing the Commonwealth $53,043 per inmate, per year,
and comes with a 20% recidivism rate during the first year of release. It also
disproportionately impacts Black and Latino communities, who comprise just under one
fifth of the total state population, but over half of the inmate population in
Department of Corrections (DOC) custody.

The Justice Reinvestment Act seeks to address these economic and racial imbalances
in the state’s criminal justice system. It includes four primary reforms in criminal
· the repeal of mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes;

· a reduction in certain non-violent felonies (e.g. shoplifting and larceny)
to misdemeanors with shorter terms of incarceration;

· the creation of medical parole regulations for inmates who are terminally
ill or permanently incapacitated; and

· the elimination of automatic collateral sanctions at the RMV for drug
related offences that are unrelated to operating a vehicle.

What sets the Justice Reinvestment Act apart from many criminal justice reform
measures is that it also requires the savings accrued from these sentencing and
reentry reforms to be calculated, tracked, and reinvested into community education
and workforce development programs.

“Policies from the failed War on Drugs have been disrupting communities, destroying
families, and wasting taxpayer dollars for years. Massachusetts voters have told us
time and time again that they don’t want their tax dollars wasted on punishing
addicts, and instead want their government to focus on growing the economy and
creating good jobs,” said Representative Mary Keefe (D-Worcester). “However,
Massachusetts currently spends more than 570 million for the Department of
Corrections operating budget and only 13 million for the Department of Early and
Childhood Education. We need to move away from spending large portions of the state
budget on increasing our prison and jail capacity, and start investing in programs
that prevent people from committing crimes and going to prison in the first place.
Justice Reinvestment ensures that we are focused on the priorities that the voters
have demanded.”

“Our corrections system is broken. Tax payers are footing a bill of over $53,000 per
inmate, per year, with few returns on that investment,” said Senator Sonia
Chang-Díaz (D-Boston). “Meanwhile, the criminalization and mass incarceration of our
citizenry over the last several decades, particularly in communities of color, has
widened disparities in access and opportunity at every stage of the lifespan. It’s
time to end practices that drain state coffers, fill our prisons, and devastate
communities, and to reinvest in programs that offer pathways out of poverty.”

“The reforms proposed in the Justice Reinvestment Act could save the Commonwealth
over $110 million, diminish racial disparities through repeal of mandatory minimum
drug sentences, and promote reintegration of those processed through the system,”
said Fran Fjana, representative from the Jobs Not Jails Coalition. “And changing the
felony larceny threshold amount is a long overdue reform. Connecticut’s threshold
amount is $2,000, Rhode Island is $1,500 while Massachusetts is $250, the third
lowest in the country.”

“The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world. The vast
majority of those incarcerated are Black and Latino. Even in our own state,
communities of color are paying a higher price for crime than are other
communities,” said Pastor Roland E. Cooper, Senior Associate Pastor at Jubilee
Christian Church in Boston. “I recently wrote a letter of recommendation for a young
man who had been incarcerated, but who is now back home and trying to get a job. His
record was an obstacle, but he was also unable to get a driver’s license, and so he
was also unable to take care of his family. When a young man is locked away, it’s an
expense on all of us. His family, his congregation, his community, all of us pay a
price. When he comes home, the young man and his community continue to pay a price
because there are so many barriers to getting and staying on the right path.”

“Fighting for reforms to the criminal justice system has been a fundamental piece of
the Boston Workers Alliance mission, since our founding in 2005,” said Reverend Paul
R. Ford, Executive Director of the Boston Workers Alliance. “We work to empower the
men and women who have been incarcerated and are seeking to successfully reenter
society. People need to be able to get good paying jobs, regardless of their
backgrounds and past mistakes. We need to divest from mass incarceration and invest
in workforce development and training. The Boston Workers Alliance established
itself in the fight for CORI reform five years ago, and we see the Justice
Reinvestment Act as a next step in the fight for justice for our communities and for
our members.”

Caroline Sherrard
Legislative Aide
Office of Representative Mary Keefe

State House, Room 473F
Boston, MA 02133

Phone: (617) 722-2210

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Unemployment Rate Dropped to 4.6 Percent in September

BOSTON, MA – October 15, 2015 -The state’s total unemployment rate dropped to 4.6
percent in September, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development
announced Thursday.

The preliminary job estimates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate
Massachusetts lost 7,100 jobs in September. The job losses occurred in Education
and Health Services, Trade, Transportation and Utilities, Construction, and
Manufacturing sectors. However, year-to-date Massachusetts has added 46,900 jobs.

The preliminary estimates show 3,406,700 Massachusetts residents were employed in
September, and 163,100 were unemployed, for a total labor force of 3,569,800.

The labor force decreased by 21,900 from 3,591,700 in August, as 17,200 fewer
residents were employed and 4,600 fewer residents were unemployed over the month.

The statewide unemployment rate in August was 4.7 percent. Over the year, the
state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell 1.0 percent from 5.6 percent in
September 2014.

The September state unemployment rate remains lower than the national rate of 5.1
percent reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“The Massachusetts unemployment rate continues to decline. Although the state
experienced job losses in September, the overall jobs picture is strong,” Labor and
Workforce Development Secretary Ronald Walker, II said.

The state’s labor force participation rate – the total number of residents 16 or
older who worked or were unemployed and actively sought work in the last four weeks
– decreased 0.4 of a percentage point to 64.9 over the month. The labor force
participation rate over the year has decreased 0.6 of a percentage point compared to
September 2014.

September 2015 estimates show that 3,406,800 residents were employed and 163,100
were unemployed. There were 35,400 fewer unemployed persons over the year compared
to September 2014.

The largest private sector percentage job gains over the year were in Professional,
Scientific and Business Services; Leisure and Hospitality; and Education and Health

September 2015 Employment Overview

Leisure and Hospitality added 2,800 (+0.8%) jobs over the month. Over the year,
Leisure and Hospitality added 10,000 (+2.9%) jobs.

Financial Activities gained 900 (+0.4%) jobs over the month. Over the year,
Financial Activities added 2,500 (+1.2%) jobs.

Education and Health Services lost 4,700 (-0.6%) jobs over the month. Over the year,
Education and Health Services gained 18,300 (+2.5%) jobs.

Trade, Transportation and Utilities lost 3,000 (-0.5%) jobs over the month. Over
the year, Trade, Transportation and Utilities gained 100 (0.0%) jobs.

Construction lost 2,000 (-1.5%) jobs over the month. Over the year, Construction
has added 2,200 (+1.7%) jobs.

Manufacturing lost 1,700 (-0.7%) jobs over the month. Over the year, Manufacturing
lost 600 (-0.2%) jobs.

Other Services lost 800 (-0.6%) jobs over the month. Over the year, Other Services
are up 3,100 (+2.3%) jobs.

Information lost 700 (-0.8%) jobs over the month. Over the year, Information added
1,400 (+1.6%) jobs.

Professional, Scientific and Business Services lost 200 (0.0%) jobs over the month.
Over the year, Professional, Scientific and Business Services added 21,500 (+4.1 %)

Government added 2,300 (+0.5%) jobs over the month. Over the year, Government
gained 8,800 (+1.9%) jobs.

Labor Force Overview

The September estimates show 3,406,800 Massachusetts residents were employed and
163,100 were unemployed, for a total labor force of 3,569,800. The unemployment
rate was 4.6 percent. The September labor force decreased by 21,900 from 3,591,700
in August, as 17,200 fewer residents were employed and 4,600 fewer residents were
unemployed over the month. The labor force participation rate, the share of working
age population employed and unemployed, was 64.9, a decrease of 0.4 of a percentage
point over the month. The labor force was 3,100 below the 3,572,900 September 2014
estimate, with 32,500 more residents employed and 35,400 fewer residents unemployed.

The unemployment rate is based on a monthly sample of households. The job estimates
are derived from a monthly sample survey of employers. As a result, the two
statistics may exhibit different monthly trends.

The labor force is the sum of the numbers of employed residents and those
unemployed, that is residents not working but actively seeking work in the last four
weeks. Estimates may not add up to the total labor force due to rounding.

Beginning with the March 2011 estimates, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has
assumed responsibility for the production of the CES State and sub-state jobs
estimates. BLS has also implemented methodological changes which may increase the
month to month variability of the estimates. See Changes to procedures for producing
Current Employment Statistics (CES) State
estimates.< http://www.bls.gov/sae/cesprocs.htm>

Local area unemployment statistics for September 2015 will be released on Tuesday,
October 20, 2015. The preliminary October 2015 and revised September 2015
unemployment rate, labor force data and jobs estimates for Massachusetts will be
released on Thursday, November 19, 2015. See the 2015 Media Advisory annual
http://lmi2.detma.org/lmi/Newsrelease/media2015.pdf for a complete list of
release dates.

Detailed labor market information is available at
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WCCA TV’s BANDEdge Local music spotlight

THis weeks edition featured the cool 50’s jazz sounds of the Lou Borelli Octet. Here is what they thought of this episode:
” Love it. Thank you so much. Janet Borelli “
Groovy Man!
Watch BANDEdge ONLY on WCCA TV cable ch.194 or streaming live and free On-Demand at http://www.wccatv.com

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She must know the value and effectiveness or else she wouldn’t be wasting her valuable time.

Sometimes when I talk with our own longtime community volunteer producers they tell me when people compliment their shows, they find it humbling and almost unbelieveable that others take time to watch their simple public access TV program.

It’s interesting to me, when it comes to PUBLIC ACCESS TV and those who make it have some difficulty to believe they can be so empowered through the medium of public access television / community media and that their simple local public access TV show actually can be and is seen by a very large mass audience. In Worcester it rivals many of our print and radio stations. It certainly outshines all including other TV stations, in it’s high level of local originated program volume and diversity.

WCCA TV demystifies the process and provides the support, tools, education, and network capacity for everyone to share their story, experience, outreach, and contribute new and fresh ideas, to “Learn, Create and Connect”, as our slogan says.

Let your Federal, state and local legislators know you value stations like WCCA TV and that you feel it is important for these public non-profit stations to thrive as “TV BY, FOR, and OF, the PEOPLE”.

Thanks you to our volunteer producers, our staff of top professionals, and our viewers and supporters. YOU are WCCA TV.

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