California Governor Brown signed the Fair Sentencing for Youth Act, or Senate Bill 9, in 2012. The new law provides hope for nearly 300 youth offenders sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
The new law will allow people who were under age 18 at the time of their crime to ask the sentencing court to review their case and consider a new sentence permitting parole after serving 25 years in prison.
“With passage of Senate Bill 9, California is pushing the United States to a more humane system of sentencing youth offenders,” said Elizabeth Calvin, senior child rights advocate at Human Rights Watch. “Instead of locking up teens and throwing away the key, this law will allow careful review of these people as they grow up. This kind of periodic assessment and meaningful opportunity for release is an important step forward nationally for dealing with youth who commit serious crimes.”