A bill intended to give some California minors sentenced to life in prison a chance at release has been approved by a legislative committee.
The bill was written by Democratic Senator Leland Yee, who’s also a child psychologist. He says young people’s brains are still developing and some deserve a chance at rehabilitation and release.
Under the measure, after 15 years, courts could review the cases of inmates serving life without parole sentences–if the offense was committed before age 18. The offender could end up with a shortened sentence of 25 years if he or she shows remorse and efforts at rehabilitation.
The bill faces fierce opposition from the California District Attorneys Association and victims’ rights groups. They claim the retroactive measure is unfair to victims’ families. They also note that other paths to release–such as commutation–already exist.