A bill to provide parole eligibility for juveniles convicted of murder has been approved by the state Senate. Baton Rouge Senator Dan Claitor says his proposal would bring Louisiana in line with a 2012 Supreme Court decision that prohibits juvenile offenders from receiving life sentences without parole. The measure would provide parole eligibility after 25 years for juveniles who received life sentences after June 25, 2012.
“You can’t sentence juveniles to life in prison without possibility of parole, doesn’t mean you’re going to get it,” Claitor said.
Claitor’s original bill called for parole eligibility after 30 years, but during the debate it was amended down to 25.
“If you use 25 plus the criteria, there’re 14 people that are eligible for consideration,” Claitor said.
If enacted, the 14 inmates would be immediately eligible for parole consideration after time served. Metairie Senator Danny Martiny says a parole hearing would then determine if that person has at least tried to better themselves or abided by the rules.
“Doesn’t mean they get released. Does not mean in any way that the crime that they committed is any less heinous. The question becomes whether or not this person should be considered for parole,” Martiny said.
The measure passed on a 22-13 vote and heads to the House.