By Bob Katzen

The House 132-27, Senate 37-3, overrode Gov. Baker’s veto of a section that authorizes the commissioner of corrections, if it can be done safely, to release, transition to home confinement or furlough prisoners with prioritization given to populations most vulnerable to serious medical outcomes from COVID-19.

The section also maximizes the awarding of “good time” by eliminating mandates for participation in programming for those close to their release dates and awarding credits toward reduce sentences for time served during the pandemic.

Another provision authorizes the Disability Law Center to monitor the continuity of care for Bridgewater state hospital patients who are discharged to county correctional facilities or department of mental health facilities.

In his veto message, the governor said that he struck the section because it is not consistent with his original budget proposal.

Override supporters said the veto would eliminate important measures to ensure the state’s correctional facilities remain safe and healthy environments for all prisoners and staff.

(A “Yes” vote is for the section authorizing the release and furlough of prisoners and allowing the Disability Law Center to monitor the care of prisoners transferred from Bridgewater. A “No” vote is against the section.)

Rep. Christine Barber Yes Rep. Mike Connolly Yes Rep. Erika Uyterhoeven Yes Sen. Patricia Jehlen Yes

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