BALTIMORE (AP) — Maryland officials say nearly 300 inmates serving life sentences for crimes they were convicted of as juveniles will get new parole hearings within the next year.

The Baltimore Sun reports that the state laid out its plan in new filings in a federal court case that claims Maryland’s parole system for juveniles is unconstitutional. Attorneys for the state are urging the court to dismiss the lawsuit.

Sonia Kumar, an attorney for ACLU, dismissed the plan for hearings as an “obvious attempt to offer superficial changes.”

The U.S. Supreme Court has said mandatory life-without-parole sentences for juveniles are unconstitutional except for in rare cases. Maryland doesn’t have mandatory life-without-parole sentences, but critics note that no juvenile serving a life sentence in Maryland has been paroled in the last two decades.

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  1. Kathryn says:

    If the crimes were not their first offense, involved drugs, guns, harm to children or animals or violence or any sort (assault, kidnap, carjack, rape, shooting, stabbing, etc.), they should leave them there unless there is actual EVIDENCE that would exonerate them. If you want to act like an “adult” and commit violent crimes & repeat crimes even though you are under 18, then you do belong in jail. Make them get a college degree in jail or learn a skilled trade before they are released so that they can get an actual job. These “kids” did not get sentences like that for shoplifting or spraying graffiti.

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