With the legislation headed to the Governor's desk for his signature, Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin thanked the Senate for the swift passage of his "Time Off for Good Behavior" legislation; S2179, Sub A, sponsored by Senator V. Susan Sosnowski and H7112, Sub A, sponsored by Representative Teresa Tanzi.
The legislation prohibits those convicted of certain crimes, including murder, attempted murder, kidnapping of a minor, first degree sexual assault, and first and second degree child molestation, from earning credits toward early release for good behavior. The Act would take effect on July 1, 2012 and apply to all earned time not awarded or otherwise credited to a prisoner's sentence on or before that date.
The House of Representatives passed the Senate and House companion bills last week.
"The original time off for good behavior laws for those who commit egregious crimes were enacted in an era when we believed our communities were safe from monsters and predators," said Attorney General Kilmartin. "We have an obligation to continually look at the laws that are designed to protect our communities to ensure that they remain relevant in an ever changing society.
"I appreciate the continued support from Senator Sosnowski and Representative Tanzi working with my office to ensure the passage of this bill. It is my hope that these much-needed changes will bring a sense of justice and peace to victims and their families, knowing that those who perpetrate these crimes will not be allowed time off for good behavior while incarcerated."
Attorney General Kilmartin submitted the original "Time Off for Good Behavior" legislation in 2011 after the broader issue of good time credits was highlighted by the early release of Michael Woodmansee, who had nearly 12 years shaved off his sentence by good behavior credits. "I commend the Foreman and Sherman families, and all those who testified in favor of the legislation, for sharing their heartbreaking stories of tragedy and keeping this issue at the forefront of the Legislature's agenda."
"The offenses outlined in this bill are several of the State's most egregious felonies and offenses that have a life-altering impact on the victims of these crimes and their families. These victims and their families have suffered enough. They do not deserve to be victimized again by the early release of the perpetrators of these crimes," continued Kilmartin. "It remains my priority to ensure the safety of all Rhode Islanders, and the passage of this bill is an important step in keeping violent criminals behind bars and off of our streets."