Connecticut abolishes life without parole for children

Connecticut has abolished life without parole as a sentencing option for all children! Gov. Dannel Malloy signed SB 796 on June 23, 2015, just days before the three-year anniversary of the Miller v. Alabama decision, which abolished mandatory life-without-parole sentences for children.

SB 796 goes further than Miller, however. It requires judges to consider both the hallmark features of adolescence as well as the scientific differences between child and adult offenders whenever children are sentenced in adult court for serious crimes. Furthermore, the law establishes special parole eligibility for children, ensuring review after serving no more than 30 years, and specifying youth-related factors for the parole board to consider.

Finally, the bill provides earlier parole eligibility for over 200 individuals who are currently serving sentences for offenses committed while they were children.

Connecticut is the 14th state to abolish life without parole for children, and the ninth state since Miller.