Most of the 28 Texas death row inmates whose sentences were commuted to life in prison last month probably will be freed some day, says the Dallas Morning News. The last mass commutation in Texas happened in 1972, when the Supreme Court halted the death penalty for what turned out to be four years, and 47 Texas death row sentences were changed. The Morning News says that 40 of those inmates were released, two died in prison, and five remain locked up.
Gov. Rick Perry commuted the recent sentences after the Supreme Court ruled that the execution of offenders who were younger than 18 when they committed their crimes violated constitutional protections against cruel or unusual punishment. The Morning News tracked the 47 inmates who were taken off death row in 1972. Richard Dieter of the Death Penalty Information Center, said experience dictates that some of the recently commuted inmates will be paroled eventually. By that time, they will be different people, because of the difference between ages 17 and 57.