HARTFORD — More than two dozen Connecticut inmates who were convicted of serious crimes as juveniles have had the opportunity to plead their cases for parole for the first time over the past year.
A 2015 Connecticut law required the Board of Pardons and Paroles to develop a new system of parole eligibility for people who committed crimes while under age 18, were sentenced to more than 10 years in prison, and were incarcerated on or after Oct. 1, 2015. The law also retroactively eliminated life sentences for other offenders who committed serious crimes as juveniles.
The law was passed to bring Connecticut in line with U.S. Supreme Court decisions concerning juvenile sentencing. However, Connecticut’s law is more expansive than some states’ responses to the federal rulings, applying not just to sentences of mandatory life without parole.
Statistics from the Board of Pardons and Paroles show the agency held 22 hearings in 2016 and 13 in 2017, as of May. Of those 35 offenders, 17 were paroled and 18 were denied. The board identified a total of 210 former juveniles who qualified for these “juvenile reconsideration hearings.”
Of the 66 offenders who were sentenced to 50 years or more as juveniles, the Department of Correction said all are still incarcerated except for one, who died July 4.
“It’s a work in progress,” parole manager Jessica Bullard said of the new system. “We’re working on it, and everyone is doing their part and learning their roles.”
The Associated Press spent months reviewing how other states and counties have addressed juvenile life without parole. The AP found the response has been inconsistent and in…
click here to read more.