Rauner OKs ending mandatory life sentences for juveniles

Jul 21, 2015

 SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed legislation to end mandatory sentences of life without parole for juveniles. The Republican signed the measure Monday. It will take effect Jan. 1. The Legislature approved the bill in response to a 2012 U. S. Supreme Court ruling that sentencing people under 18 to mandatory life without parole is unconstitutional. The law doesn't prevent minors from being sentenced to life in prison for serious crimes. But it allows judges to take into account certain factors when issuing a sentence. They include the juvenile's age and maturity, any past abuse and the potential for the minor to be rehabilitated. Democratic Sen. Don Harmon of Oak Park says the new law allows judges to tailor sentences to fit the crime.