Senate criminal justice bill revised for debate

State House News Service
Published: 10/19/2017 11:10:03 PM

A criminal justice reform bill will hit the Senate floor next week, marking a major step — but by no means a complete victory — for those seeking to do away with mandatory minimum sentences for many drug crimes and other policies to reduce the prison population.

The legislation that cleared the Senate Committee on Ways and Means in a Thursday afternoon poll would allow for reduced sentences for some drug crimes, give people more opportunities to hide their criminal record from potential employers, and require judges to consider whether people can afford to pay court fines.

Fifteen members of the 18-member Senate committee voted in favor of the bill and the other three reserved their rights, according to committee staff.

Senators will have until Monday at 5 p.m. to file amendments to the bill, which will be taken up on the floor on next Thursday, Oct. 26.

While the Senate is further along than the House in its development of criminal justice reform legislation, both branches are in agreement that changes to the justice system are a priority this year. House Speaker Robert DeLeo said he wants to pass a bill that would give people more opportunities to earn early release from prison.


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