FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 19, 2014
House Establishes Framework for Paroling Juvenile Murderers
(BOSTON) – State Representative Thomas Golden joined his colleagues in the Massachusetts House of Representatives in passing legislation that creates a framework for determining parole eligibility for juveniles who have been convicted of first degree murder.
This legislation is in response to recent federal and state court rulings that declared life sentences without parole for juveniles to be unconstitutional.
The legislation applies to 14-18 year olds and creates two categories. The first category applies to those who have committed felony murders. These individuals would be eligible for parole in 20-25 years. The second category concerns those convicted of first degree murder who showed “deliberate premeditation with malice aforethought.” These individuals would be eligible for parole in 25-30 years.
The bill also protects the families of victims from having to testify excessively when a prisoner shows no signs of rehabilitation. The parole board may use a 10-year setback period to extend the period of time before a prisoner may next present themselves before a parole board.
Rep. Golden said, “In light of recent judicial decisions, this bill aims to protect the citizens of our Commonwealth while staying within the confines of the Constitution.”
Finally, the legislation changes the terms of violating parole for juvenile murders from committing a crime to committing a violent offense. This change safeguards juvenile offenders who are released on parole from violating their parole because of minor criminal behavior, such as operating an uninsured vehicle.