Bill could let Missouri inmates serving life get hearing

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Some Missouri inmates sentenced to life without parole could get a shot at a parole hearing under a criminal justice reform bill being considered by state lawmakers.

The Columbia Missourian reports that the legislation would create three standards for offenders to meet before a parole board would hear their case, such as serving at least 25 years of their sentence. The bill sponsored by Republican Rep. Jim Neely would also require inmates to accept accountability for their crime and make reasonable efforts toward rehabilitation.

Some inmates would be ineligible if they were convicted of crimes that meet certain aggravating factors, such as prior violent offenses.

Many lawmakers lauded Neely’s bill, but some voiced concerns about how it may re-traumatize victims and their families.

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