Governor Jerry Brown signed into law three bills that recognize young people’s
vulnerability and their capacity to grow and mature. The bills will protect
juveniles in police custody, offer young people an opportunity to rebuild
their lives and limit prison terms for youth and young adults. These bills
are based on research that show our brains do not mature until our mid
– 20s. Senate Bill 395 provides that police cannot interrogate a
juvenile 15 and under until a child has consulted with an attorney.
Governor Brown also signed Senate Bill 394 into law which gives people
who committed a crime under age 18 and were sentenced to life without
parole the opportunity to earn parole with a first opportunity for a hearing
after 24 years of incarceration.
A third bill AB 1308 extends through age 25 a special parole process known
as “Youth Offender Parole.” It applies to a 2013 law that
provides a specialized, earlier parole review for inmates through age
22. The bill is in response to neurological and social research which
shows that development continues into the mid 20s in ways that are relevant
both to criminal culpability and the ability to rehabilitate.
The Youth Offender Parole process requires the Board of Parole Hearings
commissioners to pay particular attention to the facts associated with
youth that also reduce a young person’s culpability. Children and
young people released under the existing Youth Offender Parole process
have low recidivision rates.