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FAMM Applauds Massachusetts Legislature for Sentencing Reforms
Date:8/1/2010

BOSTON, Aug. 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On July 31, Massachusetts lawmakers passed legislation that includes limited but promising reform of the state's harsh mandatory drug sentencing laws.

Drug offenders serving mandatory minimum sentences at county Houses of Correction will have greater access to parole and at an earlier date.  However, the bill lawmakers voted on did not include two reforms previously endorsed by the Senate: allowing drug offenders in state prisons the same access to parole, and allowing all drug offenders to be eligible for work release programs.  Under current law, drug offenders serving mandatory minimum sentences are frequently barred from either parole eligibility or work release programs, even if such restrictions force them to leave prison without supervision or job skills.

Barbara J. Dougan, FAMM's Massachusetts project director, issued this statement:

"FAMM applauds the Legislature for recognizing that costly mandatory minimum sentencing laws actually stand in the way of public safety.  We're grateful to Sen. Cynthia Stone Creem, Rep. Eugene O'Flaherty, Sen. Steven Tolman and Rep. Christopher Speranzo, members of the conference committee who crafted the crime bill. This law should provide a powerful incentive for county drug offenders to put their prison time to good use and prepare themselves for a successful return to their communities.  While we wish the bill had contained additional reforms, especially for those state prisoners who are serving the harshest sentences, FAMM views the cur
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SOURCE Families Against Mandatory Minimums
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