Hawaii ends juvenile life sentences without parole


HONOLULU — Life sentences without parole for minors are now abolished in Hawaii.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed a bill Wednesday recognizing that children convicted of first-degree murder should be treated differently than murderous adults.

Advocates say children are impressionable and sometimes can’t get out of horrific, crime-ridden environments.

Honolulu prosecutors argued the measure isn’t fair to people who are born weeks apart from slightly younger perpetrators of the same crime.

Hawaii’s new law follows a national trend.

A group called The Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth says states from Texas to Alaska have either eliminated or don’t allow life without parole sentences for juveniles.

The governor also signed a measure that aims to reduce Hawaii’s secure juvenile facility population in half over the next five years.