With the legislative session ticking away, the fate of a punitive sentencing bill is in question. SB 590, sponsored by Sen. Bob Dixon (R-Springfield), would require 16 year-old juveniles convicted of first degree murder to serve either 50 years in prison or life without parole. The bill had a hearing this week in the House Civil and Criminal Proceedings Committee.
The MCC opposes the bill because we believe the harsh sentences are inappropriate for youth who have the potential to change and evolve into responsible citizens.
SB 590 had been loaded down with a variety of unrelated amendments during Senate debate. In a attempt to keep the bill moving, Sen. Dixon was willing to remove all amendments except the juvenile provisions. The House Committee took no action on the bill.