The severe punishment for serious violent crimes in Rhode Island may be altered if a bill sponsored by Rep. Jay Edwards passes. The bill would prohibit judges from sentencing defendants to life without the possibility of parole for crimes like first-degree murder, murder of a kidnapped child, and carjacking resulting in murder. The bill has sparked controversy among lawmakers and victims’ families, with opponents stating that it would allow dangerous criminals to be released after serving only 25 years. Those in favor of the bill argue that life without parole is similar to a second death penalty. The bill also provides certain inmates already serving life sentences a chance at release after 25 years served. The House Judiciary is scheduled to hear the bill at 5 p.m.