Senate Bill 260 Becomes Law Giving Hope and a Meaningful Opportunity of Parole for Thousands of Youth Offenders Serving Extreme Sentences

On September 16, 2013, Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 260 (Hancock), a new law that will give hope and a meaningful opportunity of parole for approximately 5,000 youth offenders serving extreme sentences in state prison in California.  The law will permit people whose crimes were committed as minors to appear before the Board of Parole Hearings to demonstrate their suitability for release after serving at least 15 years of their sentence. The process will consider subsequent rehabilitation as a key factor in determining suitability for parole, requiring the Board of Parole Hearings to give a “meaningful opportunity” of parole to youths sentenced to adult prison terms. Several PJDC members—most notably Elizabeth Calvin of Human Rights Watch—were involved in legislative efforts to pass Senate Bill 260.