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The state violated the rights of inmates in Missouri prisons, a judge recently found.

According to a lawsuit filed by four inmates seeking to represent all Missouri inmates serving life for crimes committed before the age of 18, the state’s parole board violated the constitutional rights of these inmates.

The lawsuit details how each of these four inmates was denied a parole date after their respective hearings. These parolees receive only one of two reasons as to why their parole date was denied: the predicted inability the inmates have to live freely without violating the law again or the seriousness of the offensive.

For U.S. District Judge Nanette K. Laughery, that reasoning isn’t enough. The federal judge ruled that Missouri officials have just two months to create a plan to provide inmates with what she describes as realistic possibility of parole.

According to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, more than 90 inmates in Missouri’s prisons are currently affected by the state’s violations.

The judge wrote that though parole is not a right prisons inherently have, U.S. Supreme Court decisions dictate that inmates who are imprisoned for violations made while they were minors have “additional protections.”

What’s more, the judge referenced a 2016 law, SB 590, that says all inmates serving for crimes committed as minors qualify for parole review after 25 years.

The judge also found that current parole hearing proceedings aren’t adequate. She’s ruling that officials come up with ways to ensure the rights of these prisoners aren’t being violated.

The attorneys at Kennedy Hunt P.C. are experts in protecting the rights of their clients. If you believe your rights have been violated, Kennedy Hunt P.C. is ready to serve you. Fill out a questionnaire so we can better understand your claim.