EvidenceProf Blog

Editor: Colin Miller
Univ. of South Carolina School of Law

Monday, December 11, 2017

Cyntoia Brown & the "51-To-Life" Project: D.C.

This is the ninth in a series of posts on the "51-To-Life" Project. In Tennessee, if a juvenile is convicted of first-degree murder, there are two sentencing options: (1) life without the possibility of parole; or (2) life with the possibility of parole, with that possibility only existing after the juvenile has been incarcerated for 51 years. In this post, I will explain why the District of Columbia treats juvenile homicide offenders better than Tennessee.

According to Fair Sentencing of Youth,

The Comprehensive Youth Justice Amendment Act, which was sponsored by Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie, is now in effect after passing the D.C. Council unanimously on November 1st, 2016 and passing a 60-day period of Congressional review. At least 100 people serving extreme sentences for crimes committed as children will now have the opportunity for sentencing review as a result of this legislation. 

The District of Columbia joins Arkansas in banning life-in-prison-sentences for children this year. Eighteen states and the District of Columbia now ban the sentence. The bill also ensures that every youth currently serving sentences longer than 20 years will receive the opportunity for review by either a judge or the parole board. In addition, this bill contains important provisions to reduce over-incarceration of youth, improve conditions for youth in the juvenile justice system, and promote restorative justice practices.

So, D.C. has banned juvenile life without parole sentences. Therefore, D.C. treats juvenile homicide offenders better than Tennessee.



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