I’m writing to draw attention to a critical piece of legislation that is being proposed. Specifically, L.D. 1359, which is An Act to Provide an Opportunity for Resentencing Individuals Who Were Sentenced for Crimes Committed as Juveniles.

If this bill is passed, the judicial system would be restricted from imposing a sentence of imprisonment on juveniles for life without the possibility of parole or early release. L.D. 1359 would also enable the justice system to reevaluate cases where a juvenile was convicted and sentenced as an adult, and the individual has been imprisoned for at least 20 years.

Individuals who have been sentenced to incarceration as juveniles should be able to have a chance at freedom. As a society, we need to advocate for restorative justice, rehabilitation and compassion.

As science has evolved, research has indicated that a human’s brain is not fully developed until well into adulthood. Critical components of the brain that regulate impulsivity, decision-making and empathy are still evolving during adolescence. Additionally, key risk factors that contribute to delinquent activity and crime include poverty, family violence, abuse, and exposure to parental substance use in the home.

At this moment, Maine residents have the ability to call on legislators to make the right decision and choose compassion. Many of these individuals who have been sentenced to life in prison as children were never shown compassion — by society, or by the ones tasked with protecting them as kids.

Caitlin Humphries, Stratton

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