Warwick, RI – The RI House of Representatives has approved Rep.Patricia A. Serpa’s (D-Dist 27, West Warwick, Coventry, Warwick) bill requiring convicted first- or second-degree murderers (not sentenced to life) to serve at least 50 percent of their sentence before being eligible for parole.
The bill,(2015-H 5158A), mirrors similar legislation introduced in the Senate by Sen. Leonidas P. Raptakis (D-Dist. 33, Coventry, East Greenwich, West Greenwich) April 28. Raptakis’s bill passed the Senate in 2014, but the House failed to act on it at that time, according to a release from the Legislative Press and Public Information Bureau.
“This is a matter of public safety,” said Representative Serpa. “By guaranteeing that convicted murderers serve at least half of their sentences before being eligible for parole, we’re doing our job of keeping hardened criminals off the streets. As legislators, we have a duty to the families of the victims.”
The bill also proposes that individuals convicted of first- or second-degree murder who are sentenced to life will not be eligible for parole until serving at least 25 years of the life sentence. Similarly, a person sentenced to consecutive terms would be required to serve at least 25 years of each sentence before being eligible for parole.
The legislation also provided that no person sentenced to life for a crime other than first- or second-degree murder would be eligible for parole until serving at least 20 years of the sentence, according to the release.
Finally, individuals sentenced to life for first- or second-degree murder and also convicted of escaping or attempting to escape from prison will not be considered for parole until serving at least 35 years in prison.
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