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On October 13th, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments to determine if its 2012 decision, prohibiting automatic sentencing of juveniles to life in prison without the possibility of parole, should be applied retroactively. 

KCBSs Rebecca Carrol interviewed CJCJ’s Executive Director, Daniel Macallair about the importance of this case. Daniel Macallair explained the significance of establishing a legal precedent that could potentially free up to 2,200 people who were sentenced to life without the possibility of parole as teenagers. He also discussed how states that allow parole hearings have already been dealing with this issue. California, for example, recently passed Senate Bill (SB) 261, a bill sponsored by State Senator Loni Hancock, which expanded eligibility for parole hearings for a those with juvenile life sentences. 

Daniel Macallair:

It’s a huge deal. If you put it in a global persepctive, right now there are about 2,200 people serving this life without the possibility of parole sentence. Essentially, they have been sentenced to die in prison for committing a crime when they were under the age of 18. Now, in the rest of the world, this penalty has been outlawed. It is a provision in the U.N. [Convention on the Rights of the Child]. Most of the world has signed onto it except the United States — and Somalia. We’ve got 2,200 serving this sentence in the United States, and in the rest of the world it’s about 15. Just to put it global perspective.”