Bill would limit early release for violent criminals

Providence, RI – Some violent criminals would no longer be able to get out of prison early for good behavior under a bill introduced Tuesday.

The legislation was sparked by the case of Michael Woodmansee, who was sentenced in 1983 to serve 40 years for killing a 5-year-old Wakefield boy. Due to accumulated good time credits, Woodmansee is eligible to leave prison later this year after serving 28 years of his sentence.

State Representative Teresa Tanzi calls that a flawed policy.

"The 'good time' law has its purpose, but it goes too far when it allows those who've committed crimes as heinous as the murder of Jason Foreman to go free after just 28 years," she said.

State officials say they're still examining whether Woodmansee can be held without his consent on a psychiatric commitment.

Crimes no longer eligible for good time under the bill backed by Attorney General Peter Kilmartin include murder, kidnapping a minor and several types of sexual assault.

Good time is used in part to alleviate prison crowding. Kilmartin says he did not study how the bill would affect the cost of managing the state prison.

Do you have insight or expertise on this topic? Please email us, we'd like to hear from you.