PROVIDENCE— Two local politicians hosted a press conference Tuesday afternoon to urge members of the General Assembly to approve legislation that would require convicted murderers to serve longer sentences.
Senator Leonidas Raptakis (District 33, Coventry, East Greenwich, West Greenwich) and Representative Patricia Serpa (District 27, West Warwick, Coventry, Warwick) were joined by three other politicians to introduce their three bills.
“As long as I’ve been a legislator I’ve fought for the truth in sentencing,” said Raptakis. “I want to make sure that sentences that criminals receive from judges and jurors for their crimes equals actual time served.”
He explained that the parole board should not be allowed to put people convicted of murder back on the street after serving half their sentence.
“We’re here to talk about three bills that will fix our parole system and restore public faith in the judicial system,” he added.
The first bill would require that individuals convicted of first and second degree murder, who is not sentenced to life, would have to serve half of their sentence before being eligible for parole.
The second bill, he explained, would ensure that people sentenced to life with parole serve at least 30 years before they are eligible for that parole.
“In other states on the east coast, you’re not eligible for parole unless you serve at least 30 years,” he said. “What we’re trying to do is bring this up to the level of our neighborhood states.”
Serpa explained that one of the hearings recently held when a murderer was up for parole, “the family of the victim wasn’t even there to weigh in on the situation.”
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