Geriatric Parole Bill Heads to Senate

This week, the House passed a bill that allows Missouri prisoners serving a life plus 50 years sentence to be eligible for parole after serving 30 years. The bill was seen as a way to correct a miscarriage of justice. In 1996, the law was changed to allow people who committed similar crimes to be eligible for parole after serving 30 years, but the law was not made retroactive. HB 352, offered by Rep. Tom Hannegan (R-St. Charles), would apply only if the person was 65 years old, had a good record while in prison, and had only one criminal conviction. The parole board would have to make the decision to release the inmate.

During debate, an issue was raised about the retroactive nature of the bill. Victim advocates claimed that the bill would renege on a promise made to victims' families that the person would serve 50 years. In the end, the bill passed by a vote of 90-60. The bill now moves to the Senate.

April 5, 2019 - 11:37am
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