Juvenile ‘lifer’ hearings to bring state in line with Supreme Court

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HARTFORD — Connecticut’s Board of Pardons and Paroles is preparing for a new kind of parole hearing for a new group of potential parolees.

The panel has been developing procedures for “juvenile reconsideration hearings.” They stem from last year’s state legislation that brought Connecticut in line with a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that required states to give juvenile offenders with no chance of parole “meaningful opportunity” for release.

Richard Sparaco, the board’s executive director, said these new hearings are more involved than regular parole hearings. Under the new law, the inmate’s lawyer and state’s attorney may submit reports and mental health professionals may be consulted.

More than 200 people have been determined to qualify for these hearings. Forty-three cases should be ready this year. The hearings could begin in May or June.