Massachusetts legislators applauded a request by the federal government to free former House speaker Salvatore DiMasi from prison early under a program for elderly and severely ill inmates, agreeing that DiMasi, who has twice battled cancer while incarcerated, should be home with his family. Attempts to enact a similar program for terminally ill inmates in Massachusetts have floundered for five years, even though some lawmakers support DiMasi’s early release, the Boston Globe reports. State Senator Will Brownsberger, who supports a compassionate release program for state inmates, attributes the difference to politics. “People are unwilling to release someone who has committed a serious crime, even if they are bedridden,” said Brownsberger, who backs both DiMasi’s early release and the proposed state program. “I think that’s what we should be doing, but it’s a change of policy and it’s one that takes a lot of conversation.” DiMasi s a federal inmate, so he would not be affected by a change in state law, but his case has brought attention to the state legislation.