Skip to Content

General Laws

Section 2. The purposes of the Massachusetts sentencing commission shall be to recommend sentencing policies and practices for the commonwealth which:

(1) punish the offender justly;

(2) secure the public safety of the commonwealth by providing a swift and sure response to the commission of crime;

(3) meet the purposes of sentencing, which are:

(A) to reflect the seriousness of the offense;

(B) to promote respect for the law;

(C) to provide just punishment for the offense;

(D) to afford adequate deterrence to criminal conduct;

(E) to protect the public from further crimes of the defendant; and

(F) to provide the defendant with educational or vocational training;

(4) provide certainty and fairness in sentencing, avoiding unwarranted sentencing disparities among defendants with similar criminal records who have been found guilty of similar criminal conduct, while maintaining judicial discretion and sufficient flexibility to permit individualized sentences warranted by mitigating or aggravating factors;

(5) promote truth in sentencing, in order that all parties involved in the criminal justice process, including the prosecution, the defendant, the court, the victim and the public, are aware of the nature and length of the sentence and its basis;

(6) ration correctional capacity and other criminal justice resources to sentences imposed, making said rationing explicit, rational and coherent, in order to:

(A) afford sufficient correctional capacity to incarcerate violent offenders consistent with paragraph one;

(B) evaluate, on a yearly basis, the performance of said rationing, making appropriate remedial recommendations consistent with subparagraph (8) of paragraph (c) of section one;

(C) prevent the prison population in the commonwealth from exceeding the capacity of the prisons, and to prevent premature release for any other reason, and to serve the ends of truth in sentencing by taking into account, in establishing sentencing policies and practices for the commonwealth, the nature and capacity of correctional facilities and community sanctions available in the commonwealth consistent with protecting public safety;

(7) encourage the development and implementation of intermediate sanctions in appropriate cases as a sentencing option, consistent with protecting public safety;

(8) enhance the value of criminal sanctions and ensure that the criminal penalties imposed are the most appropriate ones by encouraging the development of a wider array of criminal sanctions;

(9) make offenders accountable to the community for their criminal behavior, through community service, restitution, and a range of intermediate sanctions;

(10) evaluate the impact, if any, on correctional facility capacity of the discontinuation of sentence reductions for good conduct;

(11) nothing contained in this section shall be construed as creating any right of action.

Error