Legislators Back Revamp of State’s Criminal Justice Laws

BOSTON (AP) — The Senate has approved the most extensive overhaul of Massachusetts’ criminal justice system in decades.

The compromise bill was praised by lawmakers from both parties before the 37-0 vote on Wednesday. The House originally was not expected to vote until Thursday but that vote to send it on to Republican Gov. Charlie Baker’s desk could come earlier.

Included among many provisions in the bill are reforms to the state’s bail system, limits on the use of solitary confinement and the elimination of some mandatory minimum sentences for low-level drug offenders.

The legislation also calls for tougher penalties for people who traffic in the dangerous synthetic opioids, and for chronic drunken drivers.

Supporters of criminal justice reform had called on the state to move away from policies that encouraged mass incarceration.

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