New Mexico Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed a bill into law Friday that prohibits sentencing juvenile offenders to life in prison without eligibility for parole.
Under SB64, the No Life Sentences for Juveniles Act, offenders who committed crimes when they were younger than 18 and received life sentences will be eligible for parole hearings 15 to 25 years into their sentences, depending on the conviction, according to the state’s legislative website.
The legislation also applies to juveniles who were found guilty of first-degree murder even if they were tried as adults.
If any juvenile offender is denied parole, they will “be entitled to a parole hearing at two-year intervals,” according to the bill.
But Republican state lawmakers have argued that the bill will let juvenile offenders get away with serious crimes.
Illinois also passed a bill last month banning juvenile life sentences without parole.
In 2010, the Supreme Court held that the Constitution prohibits life without parole for offenders who were under 18 and committed non-homicide offenses. »