Abrams v. Fowler

Justice System Reform
Floral Motif with Blue Background

Case Summary

Filed 7/21/2020
Updated 6/3/2024

SCSJ is challenging North Carolina’s parole system in federal court on behalf of Brett Abrams, who was sentenced to life in prison in 1983 at the age of 14 for a senseless and tragic crime. For the last 15 years, Abrams has been in minimum custody and on work release, successfully working in the community for at least 40 hours a week. He has not had any infraction in 17 years, has received his GED, and taken advantage of classes, therapeutic opportunities, and community enrichment options.

Despite his impressive prison record, Abrams has been repeatedly denied parole since 1993. The lawsuit challenges the Parole Commission’s process as being arbitrary and capricious, and failing to provide a meaningful opportunity for Abrams to receive parole as required under the Eighth Amendment.

Why it's Important

The Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution requires that people who were sentenced to prison as children receive a meaningful opportunity to obtain release based on demonstrated maturity and rehabilitation.

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