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.