FAMMs Statement on Massachusetts Senate Criminal Justice Reform Package

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Post Date: October 30, 2017

Contact: Rabiah Burks

rburks@famm.org

202.822.6700

FAMM’s Statement on Massachusetts Senate Criminal Justice Reform Package

Yesterday, the Massachusetts Senate passed 27-10 on S.2185, a major criminal justice reform package that impacts every phase of the criminal justice system.

FAMM was pleased to see the bill eliminate a number of mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses, as well as create a mechanism for conditional medical parole. However, the bill falls well short of a full repeal of mandatory minimums, leaving in place the Commonwealth’s ineffective mandatory minimums for heroin trafficking and introducing new mandatory minimums for fentanyl trafficking and assault on a police officer resulting in serious bodily injury.

We are always pleased when legislation repeals existing mandatory minimum sentences, but it is disappointing when the same bill adds new ones,” said Kevin Ring, president of Families Against Mandatory Minimums. “In a year when Louisiana is able to repeal their drug trafficking mandatory minimums, it is discouraging that Massachusetts was not able to go further on sentencing in this bill.” 

FAMM applauds the Senate for including in S.2185 a conditional medical parole mechanism through which the Department of Corrections may grant early release to extremely ill or permanently incapacitated inmates, whose continued incarceration is both ineffective and unjust. 

“While the bill is far from perfect, we are thankful for the legislators who pushed for the repeal of mandatory minimums and who continue to fight for commonsense sentencing reform in Massachusetts. We have seen thoughtful, smart sentencing reform pass in both red and blue states this year. We hope that this bipartisan trend will continue, and that sentencing reform in the Commonwealth is not over,” said Ring.     

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