Parole Review for All: End Life Sentences in Massachusetts
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A life sentence holding out the possibility of parole would motivate more individuals to commit themselves to meaningful growth and would recognize that healing can take place in all people. Life sentences offering no chance for parole are cruelly inconsistent with the humane standards we believe our state and nation should uphold. Massachusetts does not inflict the death penalty; being sentenced to die in prison is not very different. Mandatory life sentences impose an unnecessary financial burden on its taxpayers and do nothing to improve public safety.
WE THEREFORE CALL UPON THE MASSACHUSETTS GENERAL COURT TO REPLACE ALL CURRENT LAWS IMPOSING LIFELONG PRISON SENTENCES OFFERING NO POSSIBILITY OF PAROLE WITH LEGISLATION PROVIDING FOR PAROLE REVIEWS AT 25 YEARS.
****MA RESIDENTS: TELL REP. WILLIAMS THAT THOSE WITH LIFE SENTENCES DESERVE ANOTHER CONSIDERATION AFTER 25 YEARS.
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Who can predict how any of us will change in the future? A person is sentenced for a crime; can anyone know at sentencing what changes will, or will not, occur in that individual in five, 10, 20 years? To expect a court to decide that an individual is forever beyond redemption is to expect that court to have a gift of prophecy that no one has.
Some individuals will not change, some will. The purpose of a parole board is to make such determinations after a period of incarceration. Some prisoners may be able to demonstrate sufficient rehabilitation to enable them to be released to a lifetime of parole, benefiting their community, their family and sometimes even the community of the victim.
Society does not profit from caging those who have changed. In fact, society is hurt by the loss of changed individuals who can contribute to it. A life sentence holding out the possibility of parole after 25 years would motivate more individuals to commit themselves to meaningful growth.
Lifers tend to be the most mature members of the prison population, in both age and emotional makeup. While recidivating, or re-offending, for all prisoners released averages around 45 percent, for those who have been convicted of murder it is less 1 percent. And when lifers do recidivate, it is not for taking a life.
It is time to give hope to all those incarcerated for life without parole, that they too have the possibility of rejoining, and becoming productive members of, society.
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