The Madeleine Brand Show for August 15, 2012

CA debates future of juveniles in prison with no parole

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The California Assembly is set to vote on a bill that would give juveniles sentenced to life in prison without parole a chance to be released.

Earlier this summer the U.S. Supreme Court banned mandatory sentences for minors of life without parole.

The justices ruled that such a punishment is "cruel and unusual" and that judges must consider the age of an offender before handing down a sentence.

In California, about 20 minors a year are sentenced to life without parole. The State Assembly is expected to vote on a bill, which already passed in the Senate, that would allow some of those prisoners hope for release.

SB 9 would allow inmates to petition the court for re-sentencing after serving 15 years. Inmates would have to meet narrow criteria to be eligible including not being the actual killer, having no prior juvenile offenses, demonstrating remorse or solid evidence of rehabilitation.

Heidi Rummel, a former federal prosecutor and co-director of USC's Post-Conviction Justice Project, joins Madeleine to talk about the bill and how California sentences its juvenile criminals.

Guest:

Heidi Rummel, former federal prosecutor and co-director of USC's Post-Conviction Justice Project


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