Bill Would Set 20 Year Minimum for Juvenile Lifers

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Prisoners serving life without parole for crimes they committed as juveniles would instead face a minimum 20-year sentence, under a bill presented to Nebraska lawmakers.

Sen. Brad Ashford of Omaha offered the measure Friday to the Legislature's Judiciary Committee.

The bill was introduced in the wake of last year's U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Miller v. Alabama, which prohibited life-without-parole sentences for crimes committed by juveniles.

Lawmakers are trying to find a new minimum that balances the need for justice with the recognition that adolescent brains aren't fully developed.

Bill supporters say the life sentences also fail to consider mental health issues or a juvenile's upbringing.

Ashford says he intends for the bill to apply to currently incarcerated inmates who committed their crimes as juveniles.