Lawmakers calling for criminal justice reform

Legislation would change the state's policies on bail, mandatory minimum sentencing and criminal record entries

BOSTON (WWLP)—A Senate proposal calls for dozens of changes to the state’s criminal justice system, including raising the age for juvenile court jurisdiction to 19 and repealing mandatory minimums for certain drug offenses.

After holding public hearings on dozens of bills earlier this year, the Judiciary Committee released legislation this month that combines issues from more than one hundred bills on criminal justice reform.

One provision of the bill would change the state’s statutory rape laws, allowing intercourse between someone who is 15 and someone who is less than four years older than the minor.

“I have some concerns about that but I have some concerns about a lot of elements of that legislation and have a very positive sense about other parts of it,” Governor Charlie Baker (R-Massachusetts) said. “We’re a very long way to go here between where we are now and the end of this process.”

Some of Baker’s ideas for reform were incorporated into the legislation, including reforming fine time, where people serve time in jail for failure to pay a fine.

The bill would also change state policies on bail, mandatory minimum sentencing and criminal record entries.

“These are things that will make the lives of Bay Staters better and importantly, our communities stronger and safer,” State Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz (D-Boston) said.

The bill has been sent to the Senate Budget committee for review before the full chamber can debate the proposal.