Mass Senate passes criminal justice reform legislation

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BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) – The Massachusetts Senate passed four sentencing reform related bills on Wednesday: S.727, S.728, S.795, and S.2216. The bills are part of legislative criminal justice reform.  The bills will now move to the House of Representatives for review.

S.727, An Act Relative to Tagging, removes the penalty of a one year license suspension for those found guilty of “tagging.” Tagging is defined under the law as “Whoever sprays or applies paint or places a sticker upon a building, wall, fence, sign, tablet, gravestone, monument or other object or thing on a public way or adjoined to it, or in public view, or on private property…”

S.728, An Act Relative to the Penalty for Vandalism, also removes the driver’s license suspension clause for the penalty of vandalism. Vandalism is defined as “Whoever intentionally, willfully and maliciously or wantonly, paints, marks, scratches, etches or otherwise marks, injures, mars, defaces or destroys the real or personal property of another including but not limited to a wall, fence, building, sign, rock, monument, gravestone or tablet…”

S.795 An Act Relative to Adjusting the Credit for Nonpayment of Fines, updates the current credit of $30 per day for someone incarcerated for non-payment of fines to $60 per day. This will allow offenders to spend less time in jail and pay off their fines more quickly. The credit was last updated in 1987 when it went from $3 to $30 per day.

S.2216, An Act Relative to the Use of Community Corrections for Pre-Trial Detainees and Criminal Defendants, will allow for the increased use of community corrections and diversion programs supervised by county Sheriffs for those offenders who are awaiting trial. Diverting offenders from jails who are awaiting trial will save money and allow for supervised release of offenders.

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