To the editor:
On Jan. 18, The Eagle-Tribune reported that the Massachusetts District Attorneys Association announced that they are recommending to legislators to increase the parole eligibility of juveniles convicted of first-degree murder from 15 to 35 years (DAs urge change to parole eligibility for juvenile murders, Jan. 18).
This is a response to the recent Supreme Judicial Court’s ruling that grants parole proceedings after 15 years to all convicted murderers who committed their crimes while juveniles.
This is unacceptable.
Families of victims of heinous crimes have been permanently affected and their loved ones are permanently gone. What the association is doing is simply deferring a difficult decision down the road further, which may inevitably end up in a release of a convicted criminal and will remove the only justice these families have known. Additionally, when a juvenile commits a crime and can potentially be released back into society he or she will be in the prime of their lives and can carry out additional transgressions against society
What the association should do is to vigorously defend the rights of victims as they were charged to do when they initially prosecuted their cases that lead to convictions. They should also recommend comprehensive legislation that imposes an enormous burden on the defense of criminals to produce irrefutable evidence that rehabilitation has occurred to a degree that offender cannot possibly commit another crime.
Without this standard, criminals will be released into society to harm others again. It will simply be a matter of time.