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Praise, Criticism For Patrick's Parole Overhaul

There's praise and criticism following Gov. Deval Patrick's sweeping overhaul of the state Parole Board.

On Thursday, after the public release of the state's review of the 2008 decision to parole career criminal Dominic Cinelli, the governor announced that nine officials will lose their jobs — including all five Parole Board members who voted to release Cinelli — and also proposed legislation that would strengthen sentencing guidelines for habitual offenders.

On Dec. 26, 2010, authorities say Cinelli killed a Woburn police officer in a shootout while the parolee attempted to rob a department store.

House Republican Leader Brad Jones said he welcomes Patrick's actions, but hoped for more.

"Ultimately I'm glad the governor has decided to see the merits of toughening our laws relative to habitual offenders but I don't think he's ready to go as far as we could do," Jones said.

Jones is among a group of lawmakers calling for the passage of "Melissa's Bill," which would keep repeat violent offenders from being released before serving their full sentence.

Jones also said the governor should have acted before now.

"It seemed to me you could have immediately suspended all activity on the Parole Board," Jones said. "You could have publicly announced that the Parole Board is not to be issuing any new paroles until we knew exactly what happened."

On Thursday, both the Woburn Police chief and the brother of the slain officer, Jack Maguire, were among those who praised the governor's actions.

“The report was filed in a short period of time,” said Chief Philip Mahoney. “He came back and took direct action. You can’t ask any better than that of a public official.”

"We all knew that something had to happen, I think everyone in the commonwealth knew that — that something wrong was here," said Charles Maguire. "And for the governor to be that strong, I was very happy — ecstatic."

This program aired on January 14, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

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