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November 19, 2007

More examination of juves serving LWOP terms

This article in today's Los Angeles Times spotlights a new report on offenders serving life terms for crimes committed as juveniles.  The article is entitled, "California a leader in number of youths in prison for life," and here is how it starts:

California has sentenced more juveniles to life in prison without possibility of parole than any state in the nation except Pennsylvania, according to a new study by the University of San Francisco's Center for Law and Global Justice. California currently has 227 inmates serving such sentences for crimes committed before they turned 18; Pennsylvania has 433.

The study, titled "Sentencing Our Children to Die in Prison," also found that the United States has far more juveniles serving life terms than any other country — 2,387 at present — with Israel running a distant second at 7. Israel, the only other country that imprisons juveniles for life, according to the study, has not issued such a sentence since 2004.

In the United States, life terms have fallen disproportionately on youths of color, with black juveniles 10 times more likely than white juveniles to be given a life without parole sentence, the report found. In California, black juveniles are 20 times more likely to receive such sentences.

This new report can be found at this link.  Here is the first paragraph from its executive summary:

This report focuses on the sentencing of child offenders — those convicted of crimes committed when younger than 18 years of age — to a term of life imprisonment without the possibility of release or parole (“LWOP”).  The sentence condemns a child to die in prison. It is the harshest sentence an individual can receive short of death and violates international human rights standards of juvenile justice.

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November 19, 2007 at 10:29 AM | Permalink

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