Lawyers e-Journal

Thursday, Oct. 22, 2009
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Legislative News

MBA supports legislation to reform mandatory minimum sentences

The Massachusetts Bar Association applauds the Judiciary Committee's action earlier this week to move forward legislation that reforms mandatory minimum sentences for certain non-violent drug offenders. The bill, Senate Bill Number 1651, would allow certain non-violent drug offenders to apply for parole after serving two thirds of the maximum sentence imposed. Previously, the offenders could only be released upon completion of their entire sentence. This measure allows authorities to consider parole based on an individual's previous record and one's efforts to rehabilitate.

"This action is in line with the recognition of the drug problem as a health issue and not solely a criminal justice matter," said MBA General Counsel Martin W. Healy.

This reform is in keeping with the MBA's long-standing recommendations to eliminate mandatory minimum sentences, and is highlighted in a report released by the MBA in June, "The Failure of the War on Drugs: Charting a New Course for the Commonwealth."

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