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Gov. Fallin vetoes bill keeping no-parole sentences for juveniles

Governor Mary Fallin

OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin has vetoed a bill that would have allowed the state to continue sending juvenile offenders to prison with no chance for parole.

The Friday evening veto comes despite support for the bill from the state’s district attorneys.

The bill would have removed the jury from its role in sentencing offenders younger than 18, placing the responsibility solely in a judge’s hands. Oklahoma prosecutors argued life without parole should remain a sentencing option for certain young offenders.

Many states are eliminating no-parole sentences for crimes committed before an offender turns 18. That’s after the U.S. Supreme Court said such sentences should be reserved for the “rarest of juvenile offenders.”

Oklahoma has at least 41 inmates serving no-parole sentences for crimes committed at age 17 or younger.