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Youthful Missouri offenders sue over parole denials

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) _ A class-action lawsuit has been filed on behalf of about 80 inmates serving life sentences in Missouri for crimes they committed as minors.

The MacArthur Justice Center at St. Louis alleges in the suit filed the case this month in the U.S. District Court’s western district of Missouri that the state’s parole process fails to give them a fair chance to be released.

MacArthur Justice Center staff attorney Amy Breihan said in a written statement that the Constitution “requires that youthful offenders be provided a meaningful opportunity to obtain release.” A Missouri Department of Corrections spokesman declined to discuss the complaint with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The suit stems from a 2012 high court decision banning mandatory life without parole prison terms for minors.