Friday, July 20, 2012
The bill both aims to ensure violent criminals stay behind bars while easing prison overcrowding by reducing drug-offense penalties.
A bill that toughens sentences for violent repeat-offenders passed the Senate today after having been overwhelmingly in the House Wednesday evening. The so-called "three-strikes" law eliminates parole for someone convicted three times of one of 40 or so violent crimes, with at least one conviction having carried a minimum three-year prison term. It passed the House with a vote of 139-14. Watertown's John Lawn voted "yes" on the bill, while Jonathan Hecht was one of the legislators who voted against it. In the Senate, it passed 31-7, with Belmont's Sen. Will Brownsberger (who represents Watertown) voting against the bill. The movement to pass the law was fueled, in part, by outrage over two crimes. In one, Woburn police officer Jack …
State Sen. Will Brownsberger explains his decision to vote against the Sentencing Reform Bill also known as "Three Strikes."
Friday, July 20, 2012
Over the past week, both branches of the legislature approved a compromise sentencing bill. The compromise is a very thoughtful improvement over the bill that I voted against last November, but it leaves much to be done. Our correctional system is overloaded and so is less capable of doing the careful evaluation of offenders necessary to identify those most likely to hurt people if released. The system, from time-to-time, ends up making mistakes and releasing truly dangerous criminals despite the fact it has the power and duty under existing law to retain them. And, of course, as overcrowding makes prison life brutal, prisoners are likely to emerge more dangerous and fundamentally less capable of joining civil society. We can't afford…
Friday, February 17, 2012
State legislators will hold forums on two issues being debated on Beacon Hill: Controlling Health Care Costs and Sentencing Reform.
State legislators want to hear from Watertown residents about how they feel about two key issues being debated in the State House: containing health care costs and prison sentencing reforms. Two forums will be held in the coming weeks where residents can learn about the two issues and give feedback to their state representatives and state senator. "I’d like to invite you to two community forums that I’ll be hosting over the next month to discuss these very significant and controversial bills," State Rep. Jonathan Hecht wrote in a letter. "These forums will detail the proposals contained in each bill and give you an opportunity to ask questions and provide your input. All are welcome to attend, so please spread the word!" On Monday, Feb. …