Anti-criminalization groups rally at the State House

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — Dozens at the State House Tuesday afternoon demanded action and pushed legislation of probation, prison and bail reform– as well as simple drug possession reform. 

One bill specifically would no longer make a simple drug possession charge a felony. 

“When someone has that charge on their record, now they can’t get a job,” said Raquel Baker, a member of the Formerly Incarcerated Union of Rhode Island. “They’re unable to get housing and their family falls apart. It only makes them want to self-destruct even more. 

Alongside the legalization of recreational marijuana last month, cannabis charges of Rhode Islanders will also be expunged by 2024. 

Baker has faced charges for marijuana possession in the past. 

“I was so relieved. We need to look at the person like they’re sick, not like a criminal, and get them help. We all know that jail is not a place of rehabilitation whatsoever,” she explained. 

Richard Ferruccio, president of the Rhode Island Brotherhood of Correction Officers, said he believes those at the State House were supporting “bad” legislation. 

“We see signs to abolish prisons. That’s almost as bad as abolish the police or defund the police. Crime right now in the inner cities is out of control. The city of Providence is dying right now because of crime,” he explained. 

Categories: News, Rhode Island