Middlesex DA Ryan supports repeal of some mandatory minimum drug sentences

Here is the statement released by Middlesex County District Attorney Marian Ryan on October 5, 2017, on the Senate criminal justice reform legislation:

“As a prosecutor for more than thirty years I am a firm believer in progressive, thoughtful legislative reform. Our criminal laws should not be solely punitive, but also serve to rehabilitate while ensuring the highest level of public safety.

“I support many of the principles reflected in the Senate Criminal Justice Reform legislation. In fact, I have helped to craft several pieces of this bill including the restorative justice language that would establish statewide practices to intervene in the lives of at-risk youth and young adults. In Middlesex County we have long practiced restorative justice and diversion and I have seen the benefits of implementing a collaborative approach that offers alternatives to prosecution, reduces recidivism and encourages treatment.

“I support the elimination of mandatory minimum sentences for certain non-violent, low-level drug offenses that do not include distribution of opioids or distribution to minors. I am also supportive of the provisions of the bill that end driver’s license suspension where vehicle operation is not related to the charge; the waiver of the payment of certain court fees if the payment would constitute a substantial financial hardship; and raising the threshold for larceny charges.

I have had the opportunity to participate in many forums about criminal justice reform and look forward to remaining engaged in the dialogue about other aspects of this proposal. I do have concerns about some parts of the bill that I believe deserve closer study. I will continue to work with our partners in the legislature to craft a bill that substantially reforms and improves our criminal justice system.”