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June 14, 2007

Rhode Island discussing elimination of mandatory minimum drug sentences

This thoughtful and inforative local news article indicates that Rhode Island may join a growing number of states eliminating or reducing the severity of its mandatory minimum drug sentencing provisions.  Here are some basics:

Before adjourning next week, the General Assembly may make a major revision to state drug laws, doing away with mandatory minimum sentences.  A bill to that effect is moving through the state Senate; House leaders said yesterday they are open to the idea.

"Judges have a handle on who should be locked up for excessive amounts of time," says Sen. Harold M. Metts, D-Providence, the sponsor of the bill scheduled for a vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee today.  "There's some people that need to be locked up for that amount of time, and there's other people that can reclaim their lives."

The concept of restoring judicial discretion has support from Governor Carcieri, judges and the state police.  However, Metts' bill may meet opposition because it would also significantly reduce the maximum sentences for drug charges.

June 14, 2007 at 07:20 AM | Permalink

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