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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: December 21, 2020 11:40 AM
From: Representative Aaron Bernstine
To: All House members
Subject: Markie's Law (Former HB1855)
In the near future, I intend to re-introduce legislation that amends Title 61, Section 6137 to preclude the parole board from prematurely releasing an inmate at the expiration of his minimum sentence if the inmate was convicted of a violent offense while incarcerated. 
The need for this legislation was made abundantly clear on July 8, 2019, when a man – who was recently paroled at the conclusion of his minimum sentence for homicide – then brutally stabbed an 8-year-old boy to death.  I was dismayed to learn that the perpetrator of this heinous and senseless act was convicted of two separate assaults on other inmates while serving his original sentence. 
Inexplicably, the parole board determined this inmate was not only rehabilitated, but that he no longer posed a risk to the public at the conclusion of his minimum sentence.  I believe it is axiomatic that an inmate’s violent acts while in prison evidence that the inmate has not demonstrated the necessary level of commitment to his rehabilitation, the inmate continues to represent a threat to the public, and the interests of the Commonwealth would be injured by the inmate’s parole at the conclusion of merely his minimum sentence. 
My legislation will postpone consideration of a violent inmate’s parole until an additional 24 months following the inmate’s minimum release date for each conviction for a violent offense while incarcerated.  In addition, my legislation will postpone consideration of an inmate’s parole an additional 12 months if the inmate attempts to escape, smuggles contraband, or retaliates or intimidates witnesses while incarcerated. 
This legislation will help foster a safer environment in prison as inmates will have a strong incentive to behave, as well as seek to keep the most dangerous inmates from a premature release in order to better protect and serve our Commonwealth residents.
We will name this legislation Markie’s Law, after the victim Markie Mason.
Please join me in co-sponsoring this legislation.  

Introduced as HB146