California Rejects Relief for Juvenile Lifers, Again
California has about 295 inmates serving life without parole sentences for offenses committed as a juvenile. For the second consecutive year the California legislature refused to pass a bill that could provide some relief to those one-time youthful offenders.
The bill would have given inmates who committed a crime as a minor and were sentenced to life without the possibility of parole the hope for eventual release. Under Senate Bill 9, an offender who has been in prison for at least 15 years, has worked toward rehabilitation and can prove they are remorseful could ask the court to reduce their sentence. If the court agrees, the inmate would receive a new sentence of 25-years to life in prison, and after serving at least 25 years, could appeal to the state's parole board for release, reported the San Francisco Chronicle.
There is no guarantee the parole board will let them out. Parole is not automatic. Prisoners are released at the discretion of the parole board. Juvenile life without parole came to California as a result of a 1990 ballot measure approved by voters. Juvenile life without parole is on the books in 38 states.
An analysis of crime and punishment from the perspective of a former prosecutor and current criminal justice practitioner.
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