MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The American Civil Liberties Union is suing to force the state to give prisoners sentenced to life when they were juveniles a “meaningful and realistic” chance at parole.
The ACLU filed the lawsuit Tuesday in federal court in Madison on behalf of five prisoners who were sentenced to life as juveniles on homicide-related charges. All of them have been denied parole at least once.
The suit alleges that Wisconsin law doesn’t lay out any standards the state Parole Commission must use when making release determinations and the commission isn’t required to consider prisoners’ maturation.
The ACLU wants a judge to certify 120 juvenile lifers as a class and to order the state to grant the class a “meaningful and realistic opportunity to demonstrate their rehabilitation, maturity and readiness for release.”