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HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 493        FILED ON: 1/18/2011

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 431


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts



James J. Dwyer


To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in General
              Court assembled:

              The undersigned legislators and/or citizens respectfully petition for the adoption of the accompanying bill:

An Act relative to parole board procedures.






James J. Dwyer

30th Middlesex

James M. Cantwell

4th Plymouth

Stephen L. DiNatale

3rd Worcester

Marc T. Lombardo

22nd Middlesex

Thomas M. Stanley

9th Middlesex

William N. Brownsberger


Geoff Diehl

7th Plymouth

Christopher M. Markey

9th Bristol

Dennis A. Rosa

4th Worcester

Colleen M. Garry

36th Middlesex

Christopher G. Fallon

33rd Middlesex

Sean Garballey

23rd Middlesex

David Paul Linsky

5th Middlesex

James R. Miceli

19th Middlesex

Elizabeth A. Poirier

14th Bristol

Bruce E. Tarr


Walter F. Timilty

7th Norfolk

James Arciero

2nd Middlesex

Michael D. Brady

9th Plymouth

Carolyn C. Dykema

8th Middlesex

Ann-Margaret Ferrante

5th Essex

Bradley H. Jones, Jr.

20th Middlesex

Steven L. Levy

4th Middlesex

Shaunna O'Connell

3rd Bristol

John W. Scibak

2nd Hampshire

David B. Sullivan

6th Bristol

Nick Collins

4th Suffolk

Kevin J. Kuros

8th Worcester

HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 493        FILED ON: 1/18/2011

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 431

By Mr. Dwyer of Woburn, a petition (accompanied by bill, House, No. 431) of James J. Dwyer and others relative to parole board procedures.  The Judiciary.


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts



In the Year Two Thousand Eleven



An Act relative to parole board procedures.


              Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

              SECTION 1. Every prisoner who is serving a sentence for life in a correctional institution of the commonwealth, except prisoners confined to the hospital at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution, Bridgewater, and except prsioners serving a life sentence for murder in the first degree, shall be eligible for parole, and the parole board shall, within 60 days before the expiration of 15 years of such sentence, conduct a public hearing before the full membership unless a member of the board is determined to be unavailable as provided in this section. For the purposes of this section, the term unavailable shall mean that a board member has a conflict of interest to the extent that the member cannot render a fair and impartial decision or that the appearance of a board member would be unduly burdensome because of illness, incapacitation, or other circumstance. Whether a member is unavailable for the purposes of this section shall be determined by the chair. Board members shall appear unless the chair determines them to be unavailable. Under no circumstances shall a parole hearing proceed pursuant to this section unless a majority of the board is present at the public hearing. Any board member who was not present at the public hearing shall not vote in the matter of the hearing.

              The board shall at least 30 days before such hearing notify in writing the attorney general, the district attorney in whose district sentence was imposed, the chief of police or head of the organized police department of the municipality in which the crime was committed and the victims of the crime for which sentence was imposed, and the officials and victims may appear in person or be represented or make written recommendations to the board.  The district attorney in whose district sentence was imposed shall notify the board when the written notification is received. If receipt of notification is not received from the district attorney in whose district sentence was imposed prior to the public hearing, the board shall postpone the hearing for not more than 7 business days in order to confirm receipt of the notification by the district attorney. 

              After such hearing the parole board may, by a vote of not less than 5 of its 7 members, grant to such prisoner a parole permit to be at liberty upon such terms and conditions as it may prescribe for the unexpired term of the prisoner’s sentence If the board contains less than 7 members for a parole hearing, the board shall require a vote of one-half the members present plus 1 to grant the parole permit.  If such permit is not granted, the parole board shall, at least once in each ensuing 5 year period, consider carefully and thoroughly the merits of each such case on the question of releasing such prisoner on parole, and may, by a vote of 5 of the 7members, grant such parole permit.

              All votes of the parole board shall be made public.

              Such terms and conditions may be revised, altered and amended, and may be revoked, by the parole board at any time. The violation by the holder of such permit or any of its terms or conditions, or of any law of the commonwealth, may render such permit void, and thereupon, or if such permit has been revoked, the parole board may order his arrest and his return to prison, in accordance with the provisions of section 149.

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