EvidenceProf Blog

Editor: Colin Miller
Univ. of South Carolina School of Law

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Cyntoia Brown & the "51-To-Life" Project: Colorado

This is the sixth in a series of posts on the "51-To-Life" Project. In Tennessee, if a juvenile is convicted of first-degree murder, there are two sentencing options: (1) life without the possibility of parole; or (2) life with the possibility of parole, with that possibility only existing after the juvenile has been incarcerated for 51 years. In this post, I will explain why Colorado treats juvenile homicide offenders better than Tennessee.

As this article notes,

Colorado ended life-without-parole sentences for juveniles in 2006 but had 48 offenders sentenced between 1990 and 2006, when the term was an option....

State lawmakers in 2016 ordered corrections officials to create a program for offenders sentenced to life terms as juveniles, with or without parole.

Those inmates could join the program after serving 20 years, or 25 years if convicted of first-degree murder. Upon completion, offenders could be eligible to apply to the parole board; release is up to the governor.

Therefore, Colorado no longer allows juvenile life without parole sentences and has created a program allowing for the possibility of parole for juveniles given life without parole sentences before the ban was put into place. As a result, Colorado treats juvenile homicide offenders better than Tennessee.



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