Parole bill passes unanimously in Senate

A bill to make convicted killers serve more of their sentences before being eligible for parole unanimously passed the state Senate on Tuesday.

The bill now heads to the House.

The bill would mandate that killers convicted of first- or second-degree murder serve at least 50 percent of their sentences if they did not get a life sentence.

Currently, criminals only have to serve one-third of their sentences before they are eligible for parole.

The bill, and its easy passage in the Senate, comes after some high profile cases, most prominently that of Alfred Brissette, who was recently granted parole after serving just 15 years of a 35-year sentence for murdering a woman in Woonsocket in 1999.

State Sen. Lou Raptakis, D-Coventry, the bill's sponsor, mentioned some cases in which convicted killers got out of prison after serving less than their full sentences and then killed again.