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Massachusetts Law About Sentencing, Probation and Parole


Sentencing Guidelines, Mass. Sentencing Commission.

Massachusetts Laws

Master Crime List, Mass. Sentencing Commission. Lists felonies and misdemeanors first by MGL reference, and then alphabetically by offense, specifying the penalty type and sentencing information. Easiest way to find penalties for particular offenses.

St.2012, c.192, An Act Relative to Sentencing and Improving Law Enforcement Tools. Melissa's Law (3 Strikes Law). Effective August 2, 2012.

MGL c.27, s.5 Parole Board

MGL c.127, s.151A-151N. Interstate Compact for Adult Offender Supervision

MGL c.276, s.58A (1) . "The commonwealth may move, based on dangerousness, for an order of pretrial detention...[for a person] arrested and charged with a violation of paragraph (a), (c), or (m) of section 10 of chapter 269 [illegal weapons]."

MGL c.276, s.83-103 Probation Officers

Massachusetts Regulations

Court Rules

Selected Case Law

Blakely v. Washington, 524 US 296 (2004). Applying the Apprendi decision to Washington law, the Supreme Court held that the 6th amendment requires any fact (other than a prior conviction) relied upon to impose an exceptional sentence must be admitted by the defendant or found by a jury.

Diatchenko v. District Attorney for the Suffolk Dist., 466 Mass. 655 (2013). The SJC concluded "that the imposition of a sentence of life without the possibility of parole on juveniles who are under the age of eighteen when they commit the crime of murder in the first degree is unconstitutional..."

LaChance v. Commissioner of Correction, 463 Mass. 767 (2012). Provides procedural safeguards for those in segregated confinement.


Other Web Sources

In General

Comprehensive Recidivism Study, Mass. Sentencing Commission.

District Court Complaint Manual, Mass. District Court. Includes suggested language and offense codes used by prosecutors to charge someone with any of approximately 5000 offenses mentioned in the General Laws, Code of Mass. Regulations, and municipal ordinances & by-laws; provides the authorized sentencing range for each offense; and, if the penalty for an offense is derived from a different statute, that statute is referenced.

Probation and Parole

Adult Compact Version 2, Council of State Governments. Concise article explaining the interstate compact for adult supervision.

ELMO (Electronic Monitoring Program) Information, Mass. Probation Service. A very brief introduction to the program, including RF (Radio Frequency) and GPS (Global Positioning System).

Guide to the (Parole) Hearing Process, Mass. Parole Board. A guide to the parole hearing process for the general public.

Interstate Compact for Adult Offender Supervision. Site includes rules, bylaws, advisory opinions, bench book for judges and court personnel, forms and more. Everything you need to know about the Interstate Compact.

Frequently Asked Questions About Probation, Mass. Probation Service.

A Refresher on Probation Laws and Procedures, Mass. Bar Association, 2009. Covers both conditions of probation and probation violations, with extensive footnotes.

Life Sentence Parole Hearing Process, Mass. Parole Board. A brief guide to the process for those sentenced to second-degree life.

Print Sources

Criminal Law, Mass Practice v.32, West, 2001 with supplement.

Sentencing, Probation and Parole, MCLE, 2011.

Standards of the Massachusetts Probation Service, Probation Service, 2011.