August 2, 2012
On August 2, Gov. Deval Patrick signed the sentencing bill into law. I'm happy to report that the Governor invited FAMM to the bill signing. The new law includes eligibility for parole, work release and earned good time for certain drug offenders now in prison. It also lowers the mandatory minimums for some drug offenses committed after the law takes effect. Unfortunately, it includes the new "three strikes" sections, too. The new law takes effect immediately.
It's highly unlikely that the Legislature will consider any more sentencing reforms during 2012. The 2013 -- 2014 session starts next January. New bills will be filed at that time to keep building on the reforms that we won in 2010 and 2012.
What the new law says. Click here for our updated fact sheet on the new law. The first side gives general information about the issues that FAMM cares about. To see how the law will would affect a particular drug offender now in prison, check the chart on the other side. For someone serving a more complicated sentence than what's shown, please feel free to ask us how the reforms will work.
There are still unanswered questions about details of the new law. We will forward any new information as it becomes available. The new law includes other issues besides the ones discussed in our fact sheet. You can read the text of the entire new law here.
Tell us about your loved one's experience with the Parole Board. FAMM hopes to track how drug offenders fare before the Parole Board under the new law. We need your help to do that. If your loved one goes before the Parole Board, please let us know the outcome.
Again, many thanks to our Massachusetts members for getting us to this point.
Barbara J. Dougan
Massachusetts Project Director
Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM)
Contact FAMM's Massachusetts Project:
By phone: (617) 543-0878
By email: firstname.lastname@example.org
By mail: P.O. Box 54, Arlington, MA 02476