The MCC opposes SB 200 because the tough sentencing schemes in the legislation do not reflect the rehabilitation potential of youth and are still likely to result in a person dying in prison before their release. The legislation will now move to the Senate floor for debate where the MCC will advocate for sentencing schemes more in line with restorative justice principles.
This week the Senate Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee passed SB 200 that creates a tiered system for sentencing juveniles who commit first-degree murder. Sponsored by Senator Bob Dixon (R-Springfield), the legislation would provide for the options of life without parole or prison sentences of 35 or 50 years, depending on the youth’s age. The bill is a response to a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that banned mandatory life without parole sentences for juveniles who commit first-degree murder.