Wyoming Abolishes Life Without Parole Sentences for Children

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The Governor of Wyoming last week signed a new law that abolishes life-without-parole sentences for children.

House Bill 23, which takes effect on July 1, 2013, provides that a person sentenced to life imprisonment for an offense committed before age eighteen is eligible for parole after serving 25 years. The new law further empowers the governor to commute a life sentence imposed on a juvenile to a term of years.

Prior to this change in the law, the only sentence available for a juvenile convicted of first-degree murder in Wyoming was life imprisonment without possibility of parole. In June 2012, the United States Supreme Court in Miller v. Alabama struck down mandatory life-without-parole sentences for children.