The Criminal Justice Policy Coalition has launched a campaign to repeal current Massachusetts law that imposes life sentences with no possibility of parole. Our aim is to secure legislation mandating parole review after 25 years of incarceration regardless of the offense.
The campaign reflects a policy adopted in 2003 by the CJPC membership supporting the possibility of parole for all who are imprisoned.
Life without parole (LWOP) is an automatic sentence for those convicted of first degree murder. Since 2012 it has also been mandated for anyone convicted of one of 18 non-homicide crimes carrying a potential life sentence when that conviction is the third for a felony offense.
In addition, felony murder/joint venture equates to first degree murder for all participants, thus carrying a sentence of LWOP. This sentence applies equally to those who did not “pull the trigger,” and may not even have known a weapon was present, or who had an ancillary role in the crime such as serving as a get-away driver or look-out.
It should be understood that the possibility of parole is not a guarantee of parole. The proposed legislation would offer the chance for those who are incarcerated to demonstrate that they understand the damage their crime has caused and who have successfully rehabilitated themselves, thereby demonstrating that they can function as a productive member of the larger society while under parole supervision.
For more information about this campaign, visit our WEBSITE.