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7/15/2015 Governor signs Raptakis and Serpa murder/parole bill into law
STATE HOUSE – Gov. Gina Raimondo has signed a bill sponsored by Sen. Leonidas P. Raptakis’ and Rep. Patricia A. Serpa that requires individuals convicted of murder to spend more time behind bars before being eligible for parole.

“Individuals who commit first or second-degree murder should be expected to serve at least the majority of their sentences, although I firmly believe they should be required to complete the full sentence for these kinds of heinous acts,” said Senator Raptakis (D-Dist. 33, Coventry, East Greenwich, West Greenwich). “At the very least, they should have to serve no less than half of the sentence, which has not always been the case as we saw with the ‘Thrill Killer’ Alfred Brissette’s early release.”

“This is a matter of public safety,” said Representative Serpa (D-Dist 27, West Warwick, Coventry, Warwick). “By guaranteeing that convicted murderers serve at least half of their sentences before being eligible for parole, we’re doing our job of keeping hardened criminals off the streets. As legislators we have a duty to the families of the victims.”

In addition to calling for first- and second-degree murderers not sentenced to life to serve 50-percent of their prison sentence, the legislation (2015-S 0132A / 2015-H 5158A)  will require that individuals convicted of first- or second-degree murder who are sentenced to life will not be eligible for parole until serving at least 25 years of the life sentence. Similarly, a person sentenced to consecutive terms would be required to serve at least 25 years of each sentence before being eligible for parole.

The legislation also states that no person sentenced to life for a crime other than first- or second-degree murder would be eligible for parole until serving at least 20 years of the sentence. In addition, individuals sentenced to life for first- or second-degree murder and also convicted of escaping or attempting to escape from prison will not be considered for parole until serving at least 35 years in prison.

For more information, contact:
Daniel Trafford, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903