AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas is moving closer to enacting a new punishment for 17-year-olds convicted of capital murder to include the possibility for parole after 40 years.
Texas law currently requires a mandatory life sentence without parole for those offenders. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that such sentences are cruel and unusual punishment for minors and unconstitutional.
The Texas Senate voted Friday to make the change, sending the bill to the House.
Sen. Joan Huffman of Houston says there are more than 25 people in Texas prisons whom courts sentenced to life in prison for crimes committed as juveniles.
Once signed by Gov. Rick Perry, prosecutors have said they will ask the governor to reduce the mandatory life sentences already passed on juveniles to allow for parole.