Number Of NC Prisoners Linked To Ruling Is Higher

There are more offenders in North Carolina prisons serving mandatory life-without-parole sentences for killings committed when they were young than state correction officials initially announced this week after a U.S. Supreme Court decision.

The state Division of Adult Correction said Tuesday that 88 people are incarcerated for life without the chance for parole for first-degree murder convictions for offenses that occurred before they were 18.

The division at first calculated the number of prisoners at 25 on Monday -- the day a U.S. Supreme Court ruling struck down automatic life sentences without parole for youths because it constituted cruel and unusual punishment. A division spokeswoman said Monday's number was a research error.

The justices' ruling means these prisoners could file appeals that may give them a chance to seek parole.

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