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News items related to LWOP

Op-ed: Troubled Young People Deserve Compassion, Not Punishment

More than 2,500 Californians are serving life sentences in prison for crimes they committed when they were younger than 18. At San Quentin, it is all too common to come across young men serving 35 or 40 years-to-life for crimes they committed before they were old enough to drive — meaning they would be in their 50s before their first parole hearings.

Human Rights Day: A cause for reflection
December 10th marks the annual celebration of Human Rights Day , a special anniversary in the global fight for human rights.  On that day, in 1948, the United Nations passed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) .  The document was born out of the unprecedented violence and dislocation from World War II.  It codified values of human equality, political freedom, and socio-economic dignity.  As such, the UDHR preamble begins: "Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the…
Making Sense of California Youth Sentences
Making Sense of California Youth Sentences Huffington Post, October 19, 2012
Making Sense of California Youth Sentences
Making Sense of California Youth Sentences Youth Radio, October 18, 2012
Governor Brown can end juvenile life without parole in California
Governor Brown has an historic opportunity sitting on his desk.  For the first time four years, legislation sponsored by Senator Leland Yee (San Francisco) to eliminate the practice known as Juvenile Life Without Parole (JLWOP) has passed both Senate and Assembly floor votes.  The legislation, Senate Bill 9 (SB 9) has arrived on the Governor's desk and is awaiting his signature.  SB 9 would end the policy some have called "a living death sentence" whereby youth felons are sentenced to life in…
For juveniles, justice is biased
For juveniles, justice is biased Politico, July 6, 2012
Bills determining "life and death" fail in the CA legislature
Two juvenile and criminal justice bills in the California legislature died last Friday due to lack of legislative backing.  Senate Bill 9 would have granted youth sentenced to 'life without parole' (LWOP) a chance to petition for parole after serving at least 10-25 years of their sentence.  It failed by a close margin and will be reconsidered in the coming weeks.   The second bill, Senate Bill 490 aimed to repeal the death penalty.  Although it gained substantial media attention it could not…
Few Monterey County minors tried as adults
Few Monterey County minors tried as adults Monterey Herald, August 26, 2011
The Pacifica Evening News
The Pacifica Evening News KPFA Radio, August 22, 2011
California's 'Second Chance' Bill Offers Hope for LWOP Sentenced Youth
California's 'Second Chance' Bill Offers Hope for LWOP Sentenced Youth Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, July 11, 2011
Life Without Parole: costly for juveniles and taxpayers
It is the responsibility of the state to "provide juveniles sentenced to life a 'meaningful opportunity for release,'" according to the 2010 Supreme Court ruling in Graham v. Florida .  In California, there is no such "meaningful opportunity" as of yet.  Youth, under the age of 18, committed for 1st degree murder in California can be sentenced to Life Without Parole (LWOP), without ever having the possibility to petition for their parole.   Recognizing the fact that these can minors spend…
The Supreme Court and Life without Parole
On May 17, 2010, the Supreme Court ruled in a 6-3 decision that life sentences without the chance of parole for crimes (except murder) committed by juveniles was unconstitutional, in violation of the Eighth Amendment that prohibits cruel and unusual punishment.     In the case before the court two juveniles - Joe Sullivan, who raped a 72-year-old woman when he was 13, and Terrance Graham, who committed armed burglary when he was 16 -- were sentenced to life without the possibility of…
Death Penalty Vs Life Imprisonment

Death in Decline '09 a report by The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Northern California explores life imprisonment as an alternative to the death penalty.  It also makes a correlation between the present financial crisis and fair trials.  CJCJ's recently released "Capital punishment has a mandatory three level review process, thus a death penalty case may take between 25 to 30 years before execution with a reaching costs of up to $137 million per year.  For example, the resources…

Arguing Against a Life Without the Possibility of Parole for Youth
The March 2010, the American Constitution Society (ACS) released, "A Just Alternative to Sentencing Youth to Life in Prison Without the Possibility of Parole " that provides three arguments against utilizing life without the possibility of parole for youth. The issue brief also recommends state policy reform options. Youth are different from adults.  The Court recognizes that youth differ from adults biologically and should be treated as such.  Scientists suggest that youth differ from adults…
CJCJ Supports SB 399
Senate Bill 399 is the California Fair Sentencing for Youth Act introduced by Senator Leland Yee. Current laws allow youth as young as 14 to be sentenced to life without the possibility of parole (LWOP).  The United States and Somalia are the only countries that allow children under the age of 18 to serve this harsh sentence; a sentence that provides no chance of rehabilitation and is a one-way ticket to death inside prison walls.  SB 399 allows youths sentenced to LWOP the chance to contest…
Life for kids: a follow-up
My previous blog concerned the current Supreme Court case about juveniles serving life without the possibility of parole.  I neglected to mention that there are two cases being considered: Sullivan v. Florida and Graham v. Florida.   When I wrote this blog I was not aware of a two-part report in AlterNet by Liliana Segura. I also was not aware of a report by Human Rights Watch and how both of these reports highlighted both the racial disparities of these sentences and the details of some…
Life sentences for kids?
The U.S. Supreme Court will once again take on the issue of excessive punishment for juvenile offenders.  In 2005 they ruled that the death penalty for those under 18 was unconstitutional.   This was the case of Roper v. Simmons where the court ruled that both the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments "forbid imposition of the death penalty on offenders who were under the age of 18 when their crimes were committed."    In the case before the court two juveniles - Joe Sullivan, who raped a…
U.S. Among Harshest for Sentencing Children

U.S. Among Harshest for Sentencing Children

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California Sentencing
Institute (CASI)

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