Special Commission votes to eliminate mandatory minimums for drug offenses

Issue January 2015

The Special Commission to Study the Commonwealth's Criminal Justice System has recommended eliminating mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses in Massachusetts. The commission voted 9-2 in favor of the recommendation in late November 2014.

In addition, the commission voted to recommend parole eligibility for all state prison sentences after an inmate has served at least two-thirds of the lower end of a sentence (excluding murder and manslaughter cases) and to maintain parole eligibility standards of half-time served on sentences of 60 days or more.

The commission, formed in 2012 by the Legislature, is expected to produce a forthcoming report on its recommendations. Peter Elikann, vice chair of the MBA's Criminal Justice Section Council, serves as the MBA's representative on the commission. The MBA has been a long supporter of eliminating mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses.