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Minnesota Abolishes Life Without Parole for Juveniles

by Jordan Arizmendi

On May 19, 2023, Minnesota Governor Walz (D) signed omnibus public safety bill – SF 209, which abolishes life imprisonment without parole for minors. Under the bill, juvenile life-without-parole sentences will be retroactively eliminated. In addition, all minors who were sentenced in adult court will be eligible for supervised release after at least 15 years served in prison.

Executive director of the Minnesota Justice Research Center, Justine Terrell, told the Star Tribune that “Too often, the criminal legal system just focuses on punishment. But expanding restorative outcomes and making it a priority for the system means that you’re addressing the harm that’s been caused and that people can actually move on from that harm and that helps create safe communities.”

Ninety-seven Minnesotans are serving sentences of 15 years or more for crimes committed as minors. Now, most of them are eligible for a sentencing review.

Sources: cfsy.org; eji.org

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