From the Committee for Public Counsel Services:
“Today at 1:00pm, the Massachusetts Senate will begin debate on S.2054 – An Act Relative to Habitual Offenders, Sentencing and Improving Enforcement Tools, a bill crafted by the Senate Committee on Ways & Means.
The scope of this legislation is cause for grave concern. It includes significant changes to the Massachusetts wiretap statute, enhances criminal liability in DNA collection, expands the habitual offender law, adds additional mandatory supervision upon release, and establishes new standards of whom shall be eligible for parole and when. Specifically, if this bill passes, it will:
• Institute one of the harshest 3-Strikes laws in the country by enhancing our present habitual offender statute.
• Increase parole eligibility for those serving life sentences by changing it from 15 to 25 years.
• Lead to fewer grants of parole; leaning more heavily on mandatory post-release supervision and adding nine months to two years to sentences.
• Allow wiretapping of anyone suspected of chapter 94C Controlled Substances offenses and all firearm offenses.
• Expand criminal liability for anyone who does not provide a DNA sample, when so ordered, by changing the standard from “refuses to provide a sample” to “fails to provide a sample.”
• Reduce the school zone from 1,000 ft. to only 500 ft., which does little to offset the “urban penalty” paid by city residents.
• Not ease prison overcrowding, which is currently at 144% capacity, since it maintains mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent chapter 94C Controlled Substances offenses and only decreases slightly the mandatories for some of these offenses.
Please, contact your State Senator to ask him or her to either vote against S.2054 or, at least, vote in favor of the amendments that will provide balance to our justice system. You will find contact information for your Senator here.”