Imagine being 18 years old and sentenced to prison for the rest of your life. Imagine never seeing the night sky again or only seeing glimpses of it from between the blades of a fan in your cell. I have met and spoken with people in similar circumstances. South Dakota is one of only three states in this country where someone with a sentence of life imprisonment can be incarcerated without a chance of parole. Now there is a Bill that could change this law for some people and offer hope.
The Senate already approved this Bill, called SB 146, and the House Judiciary Committee will soon vote. SB 146 would allow people serving life sentences who committed crimes at age 25 and younger to be eligible for parole after they are 50. Parole would not be guaranteed. The bill is retroactive, meaning it would consider people who were 25 or younger at the time of the crime to be eligible for parole after age 50. SB 146 is especially important for Native American communities.
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