States are responding to U.S. Supreme Court rulings that have found mandatory life-without-parole sentences unconstitutional for juveniles except for the rare homicide offender incapable of rehabilitation. After the latest ruling in January 2016 said those serving such terms must have a chance to argue for release one day, dozens of inmates have won new sentences — and some, freedom — while others wait or fight to have their sentences reviewed.
Through court and legislative action, states also are revisiting laws related to the punishment of juvenile offenders in myriad ways. The Associated Press reviewed correctional data and interviewed lawmakers, parole officials and advocates across the U.S. Here’s a look at what’s happening from state to state:
Inmates: At least 72 inmates were inmates sentenced to life without parole for murders committed as juveniles, including Evan Miller, one of two teens whose murder convictions resulted in the landmark 2012 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that said mandatory life without parole is unconstitutional for minors convicted of homicide.
Resentenced or Released: At least 20 inmates have been resentenced to parole-eligible sentences. One has gone before the parole board, but was denied release. A judge presided over a new sentencing hearing for Miller in March. A decision is pending.
The Law: Lawmakers in 2016 passed a measure that allows juveniles convicted of capital murder life with the possibility of parole after 30 years, but life without parole remains an option.
This state does not have a juvenile life-without-parole sentence.
Inmates: Thirty-four serving life without parole for murders committed as teens. The state’s two most populous counties, Maricopa and Pima, account for 85 percent of these inmates.
Resentenced or Released: One so far. Jack David Jewitt was resentenced in June and is eligible for parole in 2021, after 28 years. He was 14 when he and a then-20-year-old accomplice carjacked and fatally shot a woman. Jewitt’s accomplice committed the murder. A handful of other inmates have petitioned for new sentences.
The Law: Life without parole for juveniles has always been discretionary in Arizona. Nevertheless, prosecutors are reviewing juvenile lifer cases. Lawyers predict lower-court judges will hold resentencing hearings to determine who should get a new term. A bill to eliminate natural life altogether for juveniles failed this year.
Inmates: The Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth estimates about 114…