This week the House Corrections Committee heard a bill sponsored by Rep. Mike Lair (R-Chillicothe) that would allow for the early parole of geriatric inmates. Under HB 1963, any incarcerated offender 65 years of age or older who has no prior felony convictions of a violent nature and who is serving a sentence of life without parole for a minimum of 50 years must receive a parole hearing upon serving 25 years.
In introducing his bill, Rep. Lair reminded the committee that it is very costly for the DOC to house aging inmates with serious health problems like Alzheimer’s. His bill would impact only a handful of inmates with good institutional records and would not entitle them to release, but only to a parole hearing.
In supporting the bill the MCC testified that there is a growing national movement for reform of the criminal justice system and that HB 1963 would be a good first step in restoring some balance to sentencing policy.
The committee took no action on the bill.