Texas lawmakers have approved new mandatory sentencing for minors convicted of capital murder.
It would require a life sentence with the opportunity for parole for 17-year-olds convicted of the crime, after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down mandatory life without parole for minors last year.
State Sen. Jose Rodriguez, D-El Paso, said even though the bill would offer a possibility for parole after 40 years, most inmates don’t live that long in prison.
"I mean this is essentially a life without parole sentence, because if you’re not eligible for parole for 40 years and your average life expectancy – according to the U.S. Sentencing Commission – is about 29 years while you’re incarcerated, the likelihood is you ain’t getting out,” Rodriguez said.
The Senate Criminal Justice Committee unanimously approved the bill Wednesday.
It’s among the issues Governor Rick Perry added to the special session this week. The full Texas Senate could take up the bill tomorrow.