By Kim Odom
July 2, 2014

As pastors and parents of a child whose life was taken by gun violence, my husband and I have struggled with the pain of what that tragedy revealed. Our 13-year-old son, Steven, was shot and killed steps away from our home on October 4, 2007. We learned that two 17-year-olds (juveniles) and a 20 year-old (adult) were involved in the murder of our son.

It is unsurprising that after the Massachusetts SJC struck down the sentence of juvenile life without parole, there is a strong push from some legislators to pass a bill that creates a complicated “de facto” life in prison sentence, the result of which will mean that most youth convicted of murder will not have a reasonable opportunity for release for 40 years. The bill has passed the House and is under serious consideration in the Senate this week.

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