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Mass. Senate Backs Sentencing Overhaul

The state Senate has joined the House in approving a compromise bill aimed at cracking down on habitual violent offenders.

The sentencing overhaul, which also calls for reducing mandatory minimum sentences for some non-violent drug offenders, was approved by senators on a 31-7 vote.

The bill would bar parole for felons who are convicted of three separate violent crimes.

Sen. Cynthia Creem, the lead negotiator on a House-Senate conference committee that produced the compromise after months of negotiations, voted against the bill. The Newton Democrat objected to the absence of a "safety valve" that would allow judges in limited cases to grant parole to three-time violent felons.

Gov. Deval Patrick is expected to review the bill before deciding whether to sign it or seek amendments.

This program aired on July 19, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.

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