State law defines life as 60 years. Currently, those facing sentences with the possibility of parole become eligible after serving 85% of a life sentence, or 51 years.
HB1532/SB0561 – As introduced, reduces the portion of a person’s sentence for 1st degree murder that must be served prior to becoming eligible for parole to 60% of 60 years – or 36 years – less sentence credits earned and retained by the defendant. The bill also includes a 25-year minimum.
Essentially, the number of years for a person who has been sentenced to life in prison with parole will be reduced from the current 51 years to 25 years to be considered for parole.
Joan Berry and LaVerne Craig, both survivors of homicide victims, are staunch advocates for victims and their families. They have launched a petition through change.org to speak out against this proposed change and send a message to lawmakers to reconsider. You can sign this petition by clicking on the link below.