Missouri Senate Approves Punitive Juvenile Sentencing Bill

This week the Missouri Senate gave first round approval to SB 200, which would require juveniles convicted of first-degree murder to be sentenced to either life without parole or 35 years or 50 years, depending on their age at the time of the crime.

Sponsored by Senator Bob Dixon (R-Springfield), SB 200 aims to address a current void in Missouri law on how to sentence juveniles convicted of first-degree murder. Missouri statute currently sets the punishment for these juvenile offenders at either mandatory life without parole or the death penalty.  But in recent years the U.S. Supreme Court has declared both of those sentences unconstitutional, leaving no enforceable option under Missouri law.

The MCC opposes SB 200 because it does not allow for individual factors to be taken into account when sentencing juveniles. It still virtually guarantees life behind bars for some youth, which would violate the intent of the U.S. Supreme Court rulings.

The bill still needs final approval in the Senate before it is sent to the House.

One thought on “Missouri Senate Approves Punitive Juvenile Sentencing Bill

  1. ingyann2beme@yahoo.com says:

    This is correct. Under this bill, the sentencing may as well still be life without parole. My husband is one of these this bill could impact. Each case is different, if these law makers looked at the INDIVIDUAL cases, they would see the suggested time frame is absurd. Please make a decision based off studies and facts for individuals. Not on ignorant rants, outdated fears, and financial gain for the state. What about SB280? That would be a more “acceptable” alternative. With any law, there would always be the option for life without. What “justice” is there for a person who has much to offer the outside? These people ARE NOT the same as they were at 13 and 14 years old and deserve a life other than rotting in prison.

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