California Governor Jerry Brown is making it possible for juvenile murderers to get paroled after serving 25 years. Murderers are usually given life sentences, but those that killed during their teens will have a chance at parole.
The US Supreme Court had earlier banned sending minors who get convicted of murder to mandatory life imprisonment. Termed SB394, the new bill provides that juvenile killers be given a chance to go home after serving 25 years of their life sentence.
This class of juvenile killers will be granted parole hearings, but there will be no guarantee that they will be released to go home, Washington Times reports.
Inmates above the Age of 60 May Be Paroled Under a Similar Bill
Justices of the Supreme Court and state lawmakers agreed to the criminal reform bill. They cited that juveniles were still developing at the time they committed the crime, and prison has the ability to truly reform them.
There is however a similar bill on ground for the youthful parole program. This new bill provides that youth murderers under the age of 23 be paroled after serving 15 years. In 2012 when it was first passed, the age was pegged at 18.
It was recently raised to 23, and now bill AB1308 has further raised it to 25. And to tidy up the whole thing, Gov. Brown approved that inmates 60 years or older be paroled after serving 25 years.
Death Row Inmates, Cop Killers and Third-Strike Criminals Are Not Eligible
Gov. Brown cautioned that death row inmates, cop killers and third-strike criminals are not eligible for parole under the new law. But he added lawmakers may later consider expanding the program to include other classes of offenders. He said the law will reduce prison population and also save money that could be spent on reformed geriatric inmates.
Senate Minority Leader Patricia Bates, a Republican from Laguna Niguel has only harsh criticism for the new bill. According to her, “Any criminal who used a gun to terrorize individuals, families and communities deserves the maximum sentence available.”