Lawmakers: Murderers should serve more time before parole

By The Associated Press

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) _ Rhode Island lawmakers say a bill designed to prevent convicted murderers from winning early release doesn’t go far enough to punish offenders, but it’s a start.

The House and Senate have endorsed legislation to require anyone convicted of first- or second-degree murder, who hasn’t been sentenced to a life term, to serve at least half of their sentence before being eligible for parole.                 

Currently they can be paroled after serving one-third of their sentence. Several lawmakers say they support the measure out of respect for victims’ families and because the primary purpose of a sentence is punishment.       

About half a dozen lawmakers said on the House floor Thursday that convicted murderers should serve even longer. The bill passed the House Thursday. The Senate version passed in April.

© The Associated Press / WLNE-TV 2015