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What the habitual offender bill would do

What the bill would do

Establishes a three strikes rule for repeat offenders found guilty of any of 46 specified violent and sexual crimes. If a person is convicted and serves three years or more for one of the listed crimes, he or she receives a strike. After three strikes, an offender loses the possibility of parole.

Reduces the mandatory minimum prison sentence for some nonviolent drug crimes. For example, a person convicted of distributing heroin or morphine would receive a mandatory minimum sentence of 3½ years. The mandatory minimum sentence for those ­offenses is currently five years.

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Increases the weight allow­ance of some drugs before mandatory minimum sentences are applied. For example, minimum sentences for heroin currently take effect at possession of 14 or more grams. That threshold will ­increase to 18 grams.

Shortens the distance to a school before a mandatory minimum sentence applies for a drug offender from 1,000 feet to 300 feet. Also, drug offenses occurring between midnight and 5 a.m. would no longer trigger a mandatory minimum sentence.

Creates a “Good Samaritan” provision, granting immunity from prosecution to those who report a drug overdose.

Increases the number of members on the ­Parole Board nominating committee from five to nine.

What Governor Deval Patrick wants added

A provision giving sentencing judges the option of granting some repeat offenders a pass from the three strikes rule, allowing those criminals to apply for parole after serving either two-thirds of their sentence or, in the case of a life sentence, 25 years.


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