Senate poised to tackle major criminal justice reform

Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017
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State senators held a rally at the State House in support of the Senate’s criminal justice bill on Oct. 12.

Comprehensive criminal justice reform legislation was reported favorably out of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary at the end of September. The bill was drafted by Senator William Brownsberger (D-Belmont), who co-chairs the committee.

The bill, among other things, would:

  • Increase the threshold for felony violations to $1,500;
  • Reduce the waiting period to seal records to seven years for felonies and three years for misdemeanors;
  • Address fees and fines that indigent defendants are unable to pay; and
  • Exclude cases dismissed before arraignment from Criminal Offender Registration Information (CORI) reports and certain juvenile cases from appearing on adult CORI reports.

The bill is expected to go before the full Senate for debate and a vote in the next couple of weeks. The House is expected to move forward with its criminal justice reform package this fall. House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo has indicated his desire for the House of Representatives to vote on their version of criminal justice reform prior to the Thanksgiving break. Read the Senate bill here.