US judge orders parole changes for juveniles jailed for life

1 month 8 hours 58 minutes ago Thursday, August 15 2019 Aug 15, 2019 Thursday, August 15, 2019 9:10:53 AM CDT August 15, 2019 in News
By: The Associated Press

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A federal judge has ordered sweeping changes to how Missouri's parole board treats prisoners sentenced to life behind bars for crimes they committed as children or teenagers.

U.S. District Judge Nanette Laughrey this month ordered new parole hearings for prisoners previously denied release. She also barred the board from denying parole based solely on the seriousness of those prisoners' crimes and ordered new training for board members, along with a laundry list of other regulations aimed at making the process fairer for those inmates.

Missouri Department of Corrections spokesman Garry Brix said Wednesday that the agency respects the ruling and will comply.

The ruling comes after inmates filed a class-action lawsuit against Missouri's prison system . They alleged that the parole board didn't give them a fair shot at freedom, despite a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that found life sentences for juveniles without parole are unconstitutional cruel and unusual punishment.

"These decisions should be based on who these men and women have become over time, not their worst act as children," said Amy Breihan, Missouri director of the MacArthur Justice Center. The center represented the prisoners in the lawsuit.

In response to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling, state legislators in 2016 passed a law that allows juveniles who had previously received those mandatory sentences to get an opportunity for release after 25 years in prison.

But attorneys for the plaintiffs alleged the Missouri Board of Probation and Parole didn't give those prisoners a meaningful chance at freedom because the board has denied release in 85 percent of cases it has heard and has yet to free anyone.

Other changes ordered by Laughrey include allowing prisoners to bring four people with them to a parole hearing, including attorneys and expert witnesses who can advocate for them. Prisoners now have a right to their un-redacted parole records and recordings of their parole hearings.

Laughrey said mandatory new training for parole board members on juvenile release is "critical because multiple Board members and parole staff recently not only have exhibited unprofessional behavior that suggests a lack of seriousness, but also have demonstrated a lack of familiarity with applicable regulations and law."

An inspector general's report in 2017 found an employee and a parole board member, who has since resigned, toyed with inmates during parole hearings .

More News

Grid
List
JEFFERSON CITY - Officers have taken a man into custody in relation to a shots fired incident on Sept. 3... More >>
6 hours ago Saturday, September 14 2019 Sep 14, 2019 Saturday, September 14, 2019 9:51:00 PM CDT September 14, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Officers responded to reports of a car crashing into a home in the 900 block of Sardonyx... More >>
6 hours ago Saturday, September 14 2019 Sep 14, 2019 Saturday, September 14, 2019 9:45:00 PM CDT September 14, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A truck crashed into the Ventura Townhome complex Saturday morning in relation to a domestic assault, according... More >>
11 hours ago Saturday, September 14 2019 Sep 14, 2019 Saturday, September 14, 2019 5:20:00 PM CDT September 14, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The 4th annual Tunnel to Towers 5K was held at the Governor's Garden on Saturday. This... More >>
12 hours ago Saturday, September 14 2019 Sep 14, 2019 Saturday, September 14, 2019 4:29:00 PM CDT September 14, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY — The Jefferson City Police Department announced its participation in the National Child Passenger Safety Week enforcement campaign... More >>
13 hours ago Saturday, September 14 2019 Sep 14, 2019 Saturday, September 14, 2019 3:37:00 PM CDT September 14, 2019 in News
NEW LEBANON - For one group, New Lebanon's bicentennial celebration was a unification decades in the making. While researching her... More >>
13 hours ago Saturday, September 14 2019 Sep 14, 2019 Saturday, September 14, 2019 3:07:00 PM CDT September 14, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The percentage of successful disability cases aimed at reversing the denial or re-evaluation of benefits... More >>
18 hours ago Saturday, September 14 2019 Sep 14, 2019 Saturday, September 14, 2019 10:37:39 AM CDT September 14, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Police Department is investigating two homicides after three people were shot overnight. Officers said they... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, September 14 2019 Sep 14, 2019 Saturday, September 14, 2019 3:04:00 AM CDT September 14, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Below are scores from football games around mid-Missouri. Final scores are in bold. ... More >>
1 day ago Friday, September 13 2019 Sep 13, 2019 Friday, September 13, 2019 6:32:00 PM CDT September 13, 2019 in Friday Night Fever
JEFFERSON CITY - A recent Facebook post showed grass clippings left out in Jefferson City. Many commented on the post... More >>
1 day ago Friday, September 13 2019 Sep 13, 2019 Friday, September 13, 2019 6:11:00 PM CDT September 13, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia police and the city's Solid Waste Department will expand the search area in the Megan Shultz case.... More >>
1 day ago Friday, September 13 2019 Sep 13, 2019 Friday, September 13, 2019 4:44:00 PM CDT September 13, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - It's been nine months since Melissa Peskey's death, and the family together with the Missouri State Highway... More >>
1 day ago Friday, September 13 2019 Sep 13, 2019 Friday, September 13, 2019 4:15:00 PM CDT September 13, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY – The Missouri Senate unanimously passed HB 1, which will allow the sales proceeds of more than one... More >>
1 day ago Friday, September 13 2019 Sep 13, 2019 Friday, September 13, 2019 3:54:00 PM CDT September 13, 2019 in News
SEDALIA - A boil water advisory has been expanded in the city of Sedalia. The city is expanding the... More >>
1 day ago Friday, September 13 2019 Sep 13, 2019 Friday, September 13, 2019 3:46:00 PM CDT September 13, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY – The Board of Curators at Lincoln University approved a plan Thursday night to rebuild the Dickinson Research... More >>
1 day ago Friday, September 13 2019 Sep 13, 2019 Friday, September 13, 2019 3:23:00 PM CDT September 13, 2019 in News
COOPER COUNTY - State troopers ended up making a large drug bust after a K9 found methamphetamine during a traffic... More >>
1 day ago Friday, September 13 2019 Sep 13, 2019 Friday, September 13, 2019 12:46:00 PM CDT September 13, 2019 in News
JOPLIN (AP) — Jasper County authorities say a deputy was shot and a man was later found dead after a... More >>
1 day ago Friday, September 13 2019 Sep 13, 2019 Friday, September 13, 2019 11:40:08 AM CDT September 13, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Police confirmed a shots fired incident Thursday evening on Currituck Lane. Dispatchers got several shots fired calls... More >>
1 day ago Friday, September 13 2019 Sep 13, 2019 Friday, September 13, 2019 11:36:00 AM CDT September 13, 2019 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 69°
5am 67°
6am 67°
7am 70°
8am 72°