Young Offenders Sentenced to Life: Supreme Court to Reexamine Policy

The Stir Bloggers

jailWhen we hear the news of a violent crime, there's almost an involuntary reaction in our minds: I hope they get that guy and put him away for life!

But what happens when "that guy" is 12, 13, 14? The question of juvenile justice is one that only sparks more questions. Should minors really be put away for life? Should we all be accountable for our 13 year old selves forever?

Yesterday, the Supreme Court on announced that it will decide whether sentencing juveniles to spend the rest of their lives in prison without hope of ever being released can be considered a cruel and unusual punishment.

According to the AP, a 2008 report from Human Rights Watch said that there are 2,484 youth offenders serving life without parole in the United States, with Florida, California, Louisiana, Michigan and Pennsylvania having the highest number. The United States is the only country in the world that still sentences juveniles to life in prison without possibility of parole, human rights advocates say.

Joe Sullivan, a 33-year-old inmate at the Santa Rosa Correctional Institution in Florida was only 13 when he was convicted of rape. So he's got 20 years of prison down, and the rest of his life to go.

What do you think? Is this justice or cruel and unusual punishment? Should violent kids be sentenced to life sentences without the possibility of parole?

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