Bill setting regulations for allowing long-term inmates probationary review for crimes committed as juvenile, clears House

The House this afternoon, after a quick 10-minute debate, approved a bill that would set up a framework for review of sentences for long-term prison inmates who committed serious crimes as juveniles. It’s the result of two US Supreme Court decisions and action by the Connecticut Sentencing Commission. The bill passed 129-15 and heads to the Senate. The legislation includes a chance for victims to be heard. “It’s a good compromise,” said Rep. David Labriola, R-Oxford. Under the bill, those sentenced to 50 years would have to serve 30 years before review of their prison behavior by the state Board of Pardons and Paroles. Those serving less than 20 years could have their cases reviewed after 12 years or 60 percent of their sentences, whatever length is greater, said Rep. Gerald M. Fox III, D-Stamford, co-chairman of the Judiciary Committee. “By no means is this intended to grant release,” Fox said. “They would have to show significant work to show they’ve been rehabilitated.” Fox pointed out emerging research indicating that the brains of juveniles are underdeveloped and the teens are capable of making bad, life-changing decisions.