HB 1064: Abolish Life Without Parole for Children and Emerging Adults

House Sponsors

Representatives Rita Mayfield and Seth Lewis

Senate Sponsor

Senate President Don Harmon

We need to abolish life without parole sentences for people 20 and younger in Illinois!

Consider the following.

  • SCIENCE: Research studies have proven the brain continues developing until a person is around 25 years old. 
  • SCOTUS: The US Supreme Court has repeatedly emphasized children are “categorically less culpable” than adults and are more capable of rehabilitation
  • ILLINOIS COURTS: Illinois courts have affirmed SCOTUS and now face the difficult task of untangling decades of excessive sentencing.
  • INTERNATIONAL LAW: The practice of sentencing children to LWOP violates Article 37 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). 
  • RESEARCH: The recidivism rate is just 1.14% among people sentenced to juvenile LWOP and then subsequently released. We have found no research that demonstrates LWOP sentences have a deterrent effect on crime.

We can build on recent legislative progress in Illinois to align our state with new norms, court decisions, and international standards.

HB 1064 would prevent life without parole sentences for most people 20 and younger. It creates an opportunity for people younger than 21 when convicted and sentenced to first-degree murder or a term of natural life imprisonment to be eligible for parole review. People could petition the Prisoner Review Board for parole consideration after serving 40 years or more of their sentences.

Young people could still serve life in prison. This bill simply ensures they have a limited opportunity to be considered for parole. The legislation would not be retroactive.

Bill Status

A version of the bill was introduced in the House on February 16, 2021.


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