Thursday, December 7, 2017
This is the seventh 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 Connecticut treats juvenile homicide offenders better than Tennessee.
Back in 2015,
Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy signed SB 796, which abolished life-without-parole sentences for all children.
The new law requires judges to consider both the hallmark features of adolescence as well as the scientific differences between child and adult offenders whenever children are sentenced in adult court for serious crimes. Furthermore, the law establishes special parole eligibility for children, ensuring review after serving no more than 30 years, and specifying youth-related factors for the parole board to consider.
Under the new law, minors sentenced to more than 10 years or to 50 years or less in prison are eligible for parole after serving 12 years or 60 percent of the sentence, whichever is greater. Minors sentenced to more than 50 years are parole-eligible after serving 30 years.
Therefore, Connecticut treats juvenile homicide offenders better than Tennessee.