Criminal justice reform bill moves to Gov. Baker’s desk

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A bill waiting for the Governor’s signature would enact sweeping changes in the criminal justice system. It’s now on Gov. Baker’s desk after coming out of conference committee negotiations.

The 121-page bill helps draw the distinction between those who sell and traffic drugs between those who need addiction treatment.

It would eliminate some mandatory minimum sentences for low-level drug offenses. It would also increase penalties for trafficking deadly synthetic opioids like fentanyl and carfentanyl.

“You are pushing poison on people that is taking their lives,” Hampden County Sheriff Nick Cocchi said. “I think that if you are pushing a substance with carfentanyl or fentanyl, and the end result is someone passes away and loses their life, in my opinion, that’s murder.”

Sheriff Cocchi told 22News he’s excited that the bill loosens restrictions on putting uncooperative inmates in what’s called restrictive housing before they return to general population.

The bill also allows certain criminal records for young people to be erased.

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