Columbus—Today, State Senator Cecil Thomas (D-Cincinnati) introduced Senate Bill 272, a bipartisan bill to give juveniles with extended and life sentences an opportunity for parole hearings. Under the bill, a prisoner who was under the age of eighteen at the time of the offense(s) for which he or she is serving a prison sentence is eligible for parole as follows:

  • If the inmate’s stated prison term totals at least fifteen years, the prisoner is eligible for parole after serving fifteen years;
  • If the inmate has a sentence that permits parole only after fifteen or more years, the prisoner is eligible for parole after serving fifteen years;
  • If the inmate is serving a sentence of life without parole, the prisoner is eligible for parole upon turning age forty.

“This bill is based on input from experts in the criminal justice field and recognition that juveniles require a different approach than adults who commit crimes that carry extended sentences,” said Senator Thomas. “It is a productive step toward improving our justice system.”
 
This language in Senator Thomas’s bill was approved by the Ohio Criminal Sentencing Commission after being thoroughly vetted by the participating prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges, and personnel from the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction and the Department of Youth Services. Senate Bill 272 enjoys the joint sponsorship of State Senator John Eklund, chair of the Criminal Justice Committee, and co-sponsorship from State Senators Bill Seitz (R-Green Township), Peggy Lehner (R-Kettering), and Cliff Hite (R-Findlay).
 
“I am proud to join with my colleagues in the legislature to endorse the hard work of the Sentencing Commission,” said Senator Thomas. “I look forward to continuing the conversation about improving the administration of justice and working toward public safety reform in the State of Ohio.”

 
 
 
  
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