Arkansas Lawmakers Recognized for Bipartisan Work to End Juvenile Life Without Parole

At its annual Convening in Washington, DC, the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth recognized three Arkansas lawmakers—State Senator Missy Irvin (R-Mountain View), Representative Rebecca Petty (R-Rogers), and me—as 2017 Legislators of the Year for our work to end juvenile life without parole in Arkansas.

I worked with Senator Irvin in 2015 to pass legislation ending juvenile life without parole, but our bill failed to clear the Arkansas House in large part due to the opposition led by Representative Petty. This year, Senator Irvin and I worked with others to persuade Representative Petty to support a similar bill. Thanks to this bipartisan work, Arkansas became the first state in the south to end juvenile life without parole.

Arkansas is home to the country's sixth-largest population of inmates sentenced as children to die in prison.