NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

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December 30, 2013

Teen killers could get parole under Mass. high court ruling

(Continued)

SALEM, Mass. —

“We’re not talking about a kid stealing a car, or a drug rip-off,” said Blodgett. “We’re talking about kids committing some of the most heinous crimes you can imagine.”

Yet, even as he acknowledges that teen brains are still developing, Blodgett is concerned that there is no scientific consensus on when a brain is fully developed. Some experts believe the brain is not fully developed until the age of 25, for example, and when the drinking age was returned to 21 in the 1980s, much of the argument for that move was based on the notion that brains are developed by that age.

The SJC also concluded that its decision would be applied retroactively and that the offenders will receive immediate parole eligibility if they have served at least 15 years — even as legislators discuss proposals to create a longer period of time for parole eligibility.

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