Il lawmaker proposing law impacting juveniles who receive long prison sentences

Jan 2, 2014

An Illinois legislator is proposing a new law affecting young people who receive long prison sentences. That comes after a federal court banned lifelong sentences for juveniles. IPR'S Tony Arnold reports.

State Representative Barbara Flynn Currie says she’s trying to negotiate a bill that would address the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision while respecting the families of the victims.

"The question is: Is it appropriate to have a second look and that’s all that my measure would do, would be to say let’s have a second look at people who fit this category and let the court decide."

The U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling in 2012 saying juveniles aren’t fully developed individuals, so they shouldn’t have to serve a life sentence when convicted of a crime. That decision affects about 100 people currently locked up in Illinois prisons.

Currie’s proposal would allow the minor who was convicted to ask a judge’s permission to be re-sentenced after serving 15 years behind bars. The Chicago Democrat attempted to pass the bill earlier in 2013, but it was never called for a vote. She’s hoping it will pass when lawmakers return to Springfield in February.