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Univ. of San Diego School of Law

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Rest of Their Lives: Life without Parole for Youth Offenders

Youth (persons below the age of 18) can and do commit terrible crimes, causing enormous suffering to victims and their families. When youth commit such crimes,they should be held accountable, but in a manner that reflects their age and immaturity and their special capacity for rehabilitation.

Instead, in 39 US states and under federal law, teens who are too young to vote, buy cigarettes, or serve on the juries they appear before, are tried as adults and, if convicted, are sentenced to juvenile life without parole (JLWOP). Life without parole means that a young person is sentenced to die in prison.

A sentence of juvenile life without parole is cruel, unfair, and unnecessary. It sends an unequivocal message to youth that they are beyond redemption. It erroneously presumes that allowing youth offenders a parole hearing (which is not a guarantee ofrelease) would fail to protect public safety and be unfair to victims. It also ignoresthe differences between adults and children—differences we accept as a matter of common sense, and which science fully recognizes. [Mark Godsey]

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Comments

it depends on the situation and the nature of the crime no matter how old the assailant is.a high percentage of people never need to get out of prison because they will just victimize someone else.are you going to guarantee that these so called childeren will not harm anyone again?"i don't think so".certain behavior types are incurable,such as pedophiles and need to be kept in sanitariums for the rest of their lives.in fact a high number of inmates and people in the general public in this country need to be in nut houses but know one wants to pay for them anymore.so you or anyone else can think what they want.we pay taxes to a system for protection that doesn't work.if something doesn't straighten out we should just save our money and become vigilantes.once a year they should have open hunting season for child rapists and put them out of their misory.

Posted by: claude | May 24, 2008 10:38:42 AM

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