What kind of bill is so “good” and “balanced” that the Legislature has to fix it as soon as it reconvenes? The crime bill that Governor Patrick just signed, apparently (“Governor Patrick will sign ‘three strikes’ bill,” BostonGlobe.com, July 31).
This bill puts Massachusetts at odds with other states that are repudiating the “three strikes” approach in order to assure individualized adjudication of every criminal case. Other states are also getting serious about ways to substantially reduce the number of people in prison, reserving that punishment for people convicted of something more than being poor and addicted to drugs.
Overall, this law is a step backward, although the advocacy of so many people across the Commonwealth resulted in improvements, such as shrinking the “school zone” for drug prosecutions that has resulted in harsh sentences for people in urban areas, including disproportionate numbers of African-Americans and Latinos.
One can only hope that when they reconvene in January, legislative leaders will honor their commitment to address our failed drug policies.