Earlier this year, South Dakota abolished life without parole sentences for children. Last week Utah passed similar legislation. The new law does not allow people under 18 years old to be convicted of a capital crime to life in prison without parole. The law was passed because law makers believe those under 18 have more of a capacity for rehabilitation.
Other states to have passed similar laws in recent years are Alabama, Hawaii, Connecticut, West Virginia, Delaware, Nevada, Vermont, and Wyoming. A recent Washington Post article “States are getting rid of life sentences for minors. And most of them are red states” states that approximately 2,500 U.S. prisoners sentenced to life without parole were sentenced as children.
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