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Mass. Senate Backs Sentencing Overhaul

BOSTON (AP) — 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.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)