Massachusetts Legislature Looks At Sentencing Reforms
Massachusetts legislators are planning to hold a hearing Tuesday on a proposal to abolish mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenders.
Critics of mandatory minimum sentences, who include Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph Gants, say the policy is ineffective, unjust, and expensive.
But prosecutors, including Northwestern District Attorney David Sullivan, say it would be a mistake to abolish mandatory minimum sentences for drug dealers.
" Because I think we are sending the wrong message, particularly during this opioid crisis, that somebody with 500-2,000 bags of heroin doesn't face any consequences," he said.
Sullivan and other district attorneys point to a review of records of inmates serving time for a governing drug offense in Massachusetts that revealed 73 percent had a history of crimes involving firearms or violence.