JC/DC ACTION ALERT: Veto SB590
Governor Nixon should veto SB 590 , a bill the Missouri legislature recently passed to address sentences for children under 18 convicted of homicide crimes. Because of recent United States Supreme Court cases, existing Missouri law was unconstitutional and the Missouri Supreme Court created a temporary solution until the Missouri legislature acted. Advocates, including the Missouri PTA, had been working closely with legislators to support HB 1995, a bill that would have given all children a chance at review by the parole board. While HB 1995 wouldn’t guarantee release to anyone, it recognized that children should be treated differently in the adult criminal justice system and that no child should be sentenced to die in prison. Despite these ongoing discussions, in the last two days of the legislative session, several legislators had rushed, closed-door negotiations and passed SB 590 without consulting any advocates. This bill allows for life-without-parole sentences for children under 18 and sentences them to harsh mandatory minimums. Governor Nixon should veto SB 590 because it’s harmful to Missouri’s children and is out of line with adolescent brain development research, which demonstrates that children can be rehabilitated. SB 590 moves in the opposite direction of national trends that acknowledge children deserve second chances and will likely be challenged as unconstitutional.
Dear Governor Nixon,
Governor Nixon, please veto SB 590. On behalf of the Missouri PTA, we believe that all children have the potential to grow and change. No child should be sentenced to die in prison without any opportunity for review. After historically being considered a leader in juvenile justice, SB 590 would make Missouri lag behind our neighbors in Iowa, Kansas, and Kentucky and states like Texas and West Virginia. As every parent and teacher knows, teenagers make mistakes, some of which are devastating, but these mistakes shouldn’t condemn them to a life in prison without any hope. Thank you for vetoing SB 590.
You name and PTA
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