Sen. Kissel questions proposal to expand parole eligibility for CT’s worst violent offenders

March 28, 2023

A bill to expand parole eligibility for prisoners who committed serious crimes between ages 18 to 25 led lawmakers to debate a deeper question — what does it mean to be an adult?

Republican lawmakers on the legislature’s Judiciary Committee argued that the proposal, which makes it possible for people who committed a serious crime when they were under the age of 25 to be eligible for parole after 60 percent of their sentence is served, or after a minimum of 12 years, was inconsistent with the way that society has defined adulthood in other matters of law.

State Sen. John Kissel, R-Enfield, said that while he understood the arguments of experts who said that the brain was not fully developed until the age of 25, there exist many other things that young people were allowed to do regardless — such as joining the military, smoking marijuana, gambling and drinking alcohol.

Kissel said it didn’t make sense to consider young people adults in these contexts, but then give a “carve out” for young people who committed serious crimes.

“It doesn’t make sense to me. It seems like we are doing this just for those who have committed some of the worst crimes that are out there on our books,” Kissel said during a meeting of the Judiciary Committee on Monday. “While I believe in a second chance society, this is a bridge too far for me.”


Lawmakers Debate the Meaning of Adulthood and a Bill to Expand Parole for Young Offenders