In August 2020, a Louisiana lawmaker introduced a bill that seemed to abolish life sentences without parole for juveniles. However, the lawmaker who introduced the bill has now said that the bill is only for certain juvenile offenders, not the ones who committed horrific crimes like murder. In a statement, the lawmaker said that he supported abolishing life sentences without parole for juveniles, but that’s not what this bill was intended to do.
In a meeting, several people said that they thought the current bill should stand and give juvenile offenders a second chance. Several former juvenile offenders talked about the ways they changed and grew up in prison and decided to give back to society. A fellow lawmaker pointed out that it’s unfair to sentence children to life in prison and never give them the chance to redeem themselves.
Despite this, the lawmaker has continued to pursue changes to his original bill. If passed, the bill would make some juvenile crime offenders eligible for parole despite their life sentence. However, others would still be ineligible for parole. An expert on the subject said it’s impossible to predict how someone might behave 25 years from now. Many have argued that sentencing juveniles to life sentences is excessive unless they’ve committed a crime like murder.
In the meantime, those facing charges of juvenile crimes may wish to speak with an attorney. An attorney might be able to negotiate for a lighter sentence that allows them to get out of prison and rebuild their lives as adults.
An attorney might be able to defend a child who’s been accused of drug trafficking, drug possession, drunk driving, robbery, assault, vandalism and more. An attorney may help a juvenile understand the severity of their crimes while still negotiating for the best possible outcome. After all, few people are beyond redemption.