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State of Rhode Island General Assembly
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Senate approves Leader McCaffrey’s legislation to redefine felonies, misdemeanors and petty misdemeanors
STATE HOUSE – Legislation sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Michael J. McCaffrey (D-Dist. 29, Warwick) to revise the state’s definitions of felonies, misdemeanors and petty misdemeanors has been approved by the Senate.
The proposal (2022-S 2367), which passed Tuesday, mirrors a bill the Senate approved during the 2021 session. It is the latest step in an ongoing effort to reform the state’s criminal justice system through a “justice reinvestment” approach, which is focused on easing pressures on the correctional system and promoting diversion and rehabilitation while increasing public safety.
“Justice reinvestment can make a powerful, positive difference in the lives of people across our state,” Leader McCaffrey said. “Updating outdated definitions through this legislation will ease the burden on our probation and parole system, save money, reduce recidivism, and make our communities safer.”
Leader McCaffrey’s bill would redefine a felony as “any criminal offense which at any given time may be punished by imprisonment for a term of more than one year.” A misdemeanor would be defined as “any criminal offense which may be punishable by imprisonment for a term of more than six months and not exceeding 364 days, or solely by a fine of more than $1,000.” A petty misdemeanor would be “any criminal offense which may be punishable by imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or solely by a fine of more than $500, or both, and not more than $1,000.”
The legislation is cosponsored by Sen. Jonathan Acosta (D-Dist. 16, Central Falls, Pawtucket), Sen. Ana B. Quezada (D-Dist. 2, Providence), Sen. Stephen Archambault (D-Dist. 22, Smithfield, North Providence, Johnston), Sen. Sandra Cano (D-Dist. 8, Pawtucket), and Sen. Meghan E. Kallman (D-Dist. 15, Pawtucket, North Providence).
For more information, contact:
, Deputy Directory of Communications
State House Room 112
Providence, RI 02903
Lt. Governor's Office
Secretary of State
Link to Public Records Request