While signing a sentencing reform bill into law on Tuesday, Massachusetts Gov. Devel Patrick (D) condemned the mass imprisonment of non-violent drug offenders.
“The bill contains important parole reforms for those convicted of the worst crimes; but just as important are the parts of this bill that reform the sentencing laws for non-violent drug offenders,” he said in a statement. “Those changes start to move us away from the expensive and ineffective policy of warehousing non-violent drug offenders towards a more reasonable, smarter supervision and substance abuse program.”
Thanks to the sentencing reform bill, as many as 600 non-violent drug offenders could be immediately eligible for parole, the governor said. The new law also reduces the length of some mandatory minimum sentences and increases the quantity of drugs needed to trigger certain low-level trafficking offenses.