Bruce T. Macdonald for the plaintiff.
Robert E. McCarthy for the defendant.
This case presents the question whether a person who has been convicted of unlawfully carrying a firearm (G. L. c. 269, Section 10 [a]) may obtain a reduction in his sentence, pursuant to G. L. c. 127, Section 129D, for satisfactory participation in certain work and educational programs while incarcerated. The firearms statute provides that the sentence imposed "shall not be reduced to less than one year, nor suspended, nor shall any person convicted under this subsection (a) be eligible for probation, parole, or furlough or receive any deduction from his sentence for good conduct until he shall have served one year of such sentence." G. L. c. 269, Section 10 (a), as amended through St. 1983, c. 516, Section 2. The plaintiff, who was convicted of two firearms violations, argues that the good conduct deduction denied to him by Section 10 (a) is the deduction generally available for good conduct within a place of confinement under G. L. c. 127, Section 129, and that the deduction available for satisfactory conduct or performance in a work and education program under G. L. c. 127, Section 129D, is not denied to him under G. L. c. 269, Section 10 (a).
The plaintiff was sentenced on March 15, 1983, to serve two concurrent one-year sentences for violation of G. L. c. 269, Section 10 (a). He has participated in work, education, and counselling programs and under G. L. c. 127, Section 129D, has accrued forty-five days' credit toward his sentence, assuming such credits are available to him. A Superior Court judge ruled that the plaintiff was not entitled
to a deduction for credits allegedly available under G. L. c. 127, Section 129D. The judge stayed the portion of the plaintiff's sentence in dispute, pending the plaintiff's appeal. We granted the plaintiff's application for direct appellate review. We affirm the judgment.
The question is whether the denial of "any deduction from [a person's] sentence for good conduct" as stated in G. L. c. 269, Section 10 (a), refers to sentence deductions generally made available under G. L. c. 127, Section 129D, following satisfactory performance in a work or educational program while incarcerated. The question might be a close one if the second sentence of Section 129D did not itself state explicitly that deductions available under Section 129D are "good conduct credits." Thus the Legislature has said that deductions under Section 129D are good conduct credits and therefore they are deductions for good conduct which, under Section 10 (a), the plaintiff is not to receive.