- Associated Press - Monday, June 5, 2017

BOSTON (AP) - Advocates for criminal justice reform packed a Statehouse hearing to argue for new laws they say would promote rehabilitation in lieu of prison sentences.

Proposals to end mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenders and to gradually raise the age limit for cases to be heard in juvenile rather than adult court from 18 to 21 were among those heard Monday by the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee.

Another bill would make it easier for young people to have non-violent convictions expunged from their records.

Supporters of the measures say harsh sentencing laws disproportionately impact blacks and other minorities and result in higher rates of recidivism.

Several of the state’s district attorneys testified against eliminating mandatory minimum sentences, arguing they’re a useful tool in prosecuting drug dealers who contribute to the opioid addiction scourge.

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