Juveniles who have been sentenced to life in prison in Maryland are getting a second chance under a program that takes a fresh look at their cases.
Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy has worked to release nine people under this program, the latest just a few weeks ago.
Braveboy said at the time of the sentence, a judge may have deemed it appropriate to give a life sentence. But so much more is now known about the teenage brain and mental health that a second look is appropriate.
“They become completely different people when they are in prison because they have grown up, they have matured, their brains have matured and they are very different individuals,” she said.
The victims’ families are consulted in these “re-looks,” and other factors go into the decision.
“They certainly have the opportunity to weigh in, and we give them that opportunity,” Braveboy said.
Braveboy said she felt is was her responsibility to look at these cases and see if the offenders deserved a second chance.
“All victims have a right to seek and obtain justice, but we also know that the justice system is multifaceted, and our role as state’s attorney or as prosecutors is to protect and advocate for everyone in the system, even the defendant.”
D.C. is looking at a similar program where young offenders sentenced to life could get out after at least 15 years in prison.