Senate Passes Juvenile Sentencing Reform

by | Jul 14, 2014

BOSTON- The Massachusetts Senate on Tuesday, July 8 passed a bill reforming parole eligibility for juveniles convicted of murder announced Senator Michael O. Moore (D-Millbury), Senate Vice Chair of the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security.

“The bill passed by the Senate today strikes a fair balance and maintains the integrity of our judicial system,” Senator Moore said. “This legislation continues to ensure that justice will be properly met for victims and their families, but also grants a second chance for these convicted juveniles to become productive members of society.”

The legislation reconciles Massachusetts law after rulings from the Supreme Judicial Court and the US Supreme Court found mandatory life sentences without parole unconstitutional for juveniles.

Under the bill, individuals who committed first degree felony murder or premeditated murder when they were under the age of 18 will be eligible for parole after serving prison sentences of 20 to 30 years.

The Senate adopted an amendment to the bill making juveniles convicted of first degree murder with extreme atrocity eligible for parole after serving a 30 year sentence.

The bill also mandates that juveniles convicted of first or second degree murder must attend vocational training and treatment for substance abuse and anger management.

The Senate and House will now produce a compromise bill for final passage and consideration of the governor.