This is my husband Brian Hall. He was sentenced at the age of 17 to serve 159 years in the State of Alaska. He is one of many juveniles tried as adults and serving 99+ years. Make no mistake, these are virtual life sentences, and it is time the State of Alaska stopped ignoring the fact that they sentenced children to die in prison. The Supreme court ruled that juveniles tried as adults must be afforded a "meaningful opportunity for life" outside of prison. Brian would be 70 years old by the time he meets with the parole board for the first time.
There are others who have met with the board, and been set off another 10 years based solely on "the severity of the crime". Murder is the highest offense. The "severity of the crime" will never decrease, therefore the blanket use of this criteria to deny parole does not seem in line with the implied function of the parole board, which is to review an individual's rehabilitation efforts and readiness for release. Simply setting people off a decade at a time because you want them to "do more time for the crime" seems counterproductive and lessens the chance for success once the person re-enters society i.e. lack of family support, little to no job prospects, health issues.
The board often asks, "why do you think you deserve parole?" In truth, it isn't about who deserves parole, it is about affording individuals the opportunity to EARN parole.
I support Second Chance legislation.