Tuesday, December 12, 2017
This is the tenth 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 Florida treats juvenile homicide offenders better than Tennessee.
According to Fair Sentencing of Youth, in 2014, Florida passed House Bill 7035.
The bill...requires judges to conduct individualized hearings before sentencing a child to life in prison. During the hearings, judges must consider a number of factors, including, but not limited to, the child’s age and maturity, role in the crime, background, and potential for rehabilitation. If a life sentence is imposed, most children will still be eligible for review after 15, 20, or 25 years, depending on the offense. After an individualized sentencing hearing, only youth with prior convictions in adult criminal court can be denied the opportunity for review later in life.
Therefore, Florida treats juvenile homicide offenders better than Tennessee.