The rate at which Massachusetts’ parole board released lifers skyrocketed by 50 percent last year – a shocking spike that enraged state legislators who proposed tough new laws after the shooting death of a Woburn cop, reports the Boston Herald. The seven-member board freed 35 out of 88 convicts serving life sentences in 2009, or 40 percent; it had paroled just 29 out of 108 lifers, 27 percent, the year before.
“This is beyond outrageous. It seems to be a systemic recipe for tragedy and something's got to change,” said state Sen. Bruce Tarr. He will propose to block parole for any convicts with more than one life sentence. Dominic Cinelli was released in 2008 while serving three concurrent life sentences for violent crime sprees during the 1980s. Sunday night, Cinelli, 57, gunned down Woburn police officer John “Jack” Maguire while fleeing a department store diamond heist. Cinelli, who was also killed in Sunday's hootout, had a long criminal history, including attempted murder, armed robbery, and firearms charges. Undersecretary of Public Safety John Grossman defended the parole board, pointing out that inmates with life sentences face a much stricter screening process. He also said that while cons sentenced to life without parole will stay behind bars, criminals who are sentenced to life are eligible for parole after only 15 years in prison. The Boston Globe reported that the parole board failed to notify prosecutors of the hearing that led to Cinelli’s release.