Last Friday, Rhode Island Senate voted 36 to 0 to pass a bill that requires offenders receiving non-life terms for first or second degree murder to serve at least half their sentence before becoming eligible for parole. The bill sponsored by Sen. Leonidas Raptakis (D-Coventry) also requires inmates serving life terms for first or second degree murder to wait a minimum of 30 years before they are eligible for parole. The current minimum is 20 years. The bill now awaits action in the House.
On June 4, 2012, House Bill 543 was signed into law by Governor Bobby Jindal. This new law is the first step in alleviating the overcrowding and over-sentencing in Louisiana's prisons. Louisiana has the highest rate of incarceration in the world. The United States has an average incarceration rate of 730 inmates per 100,000 people. Compare that with 62 in Afghanistan, 122 in China, and 525 in Russia. Louisiana's numbers are more than double the U.S. average with 1619 prisoners per 100,000 residents. House Bill 543 grants parole eligibility more »