— In December, the United Nations took up a resolution calling for the abolition of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for children and young teenagers. The vote was 185 to 1, with the United States the lone dissenter. Along with solitary confinement! When Algebra Gun Safety Works!
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- Michigan Supreme Court to hear ‘juvenile lifer’ cases, consider retroactivity (mlive.com)
- Florida Struggles To Craft Juvenile Sentencing Policy (miami.cbslocal.com)
- NY Times debates ” Reconsidering Young Lifers’ Sentences” (sentencing.typepad.com)
- Taking stock of Michigan’s interests in JLWOP issues before SCOTUS (sentencing.typepad.com)
Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Miller v. Alabama that mandatory life sentences for offenders under 18 are cruel and unusual punishment, and therefore unconstitutional. In the wake of that decision, a federal court this month ruled that Hill and more than 300 other Michigan children lifers are entitled to a parole hearing.
A 10-year-old boy, charged with murdering his mother, sits with leg irons in a courtroom in Millersburg, Ohio. The Supreme Court last year struck down mandatory life without parole sentences for juveniles, prompting varying reactions from states. (AP)
So, On Whom Does Responsibility Rest for Crack Cocaine, Drug Markets and Easy Access, To Guns ?
FROM: THE LIVES OF JUVENILE LIFERS | FINDINGS FROM A NATIONAL SURVEY Part of the reason for the rise in sentencing children to life in prison was the upswing in crime in the late 1980s and early 1990s, fueled by the emerging crack cocaine drug markets and easy access to illegal guns.
3 By 1993, the rate children arrested had tripled from a decade earlier.
4 Policymakers, the media, and the public listened to dire warnings from some that, “…on the horizon…are tens of thousands of severely morally impoverished juvenile superpredators.”
5 These so-called “superpredators” never arrived; moreover, the arrest rate for children was already declining when this statement was made, and homicide rates among juveniles have dropped steadily since 1993.
The arrest rate
for 10 – 17- year-olds in
2008 of 4 per 100,000 represents a 74% decline
from the peak arrest rate for children
1993, 15 per 100,000
Nonetheless, driven by media reports of celebrated cases and public fear catch phrases such as “adult crime, adult time” were popularized. #Alec responded with a frenzy of unconstitutional laws ts, catch phrases such as “adult crime, adult time” were popularized. Policymakers responded with a frenzy of tough laws tt disregarded developmental differences between youth and adults, and instead focused exclusively on the crime.
State legislatures #ALEC chipped away at the founding principles of the juvenile justice system by passing laws that opened the trap for young people to be transferred to and tried in adult courts, thus circumventing the very courts that the U.S. had created to prevent child abuse. By the mid-1990s, every state had passed laws that either allowed or mandated that children be tried as adults. As a result, there was a steep rise in the number of children sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.
Nationwide, there are roughly 2,500 inmates are serving life in prison without parole, including 309 California inmates serving such sentences, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
“Because their brain is still developing, they have the ability to rehabilitate,” said Michael Harris, a senior attorney at the National Center for Youth Law. “They are more likely to rehabilitate than an adult.”
California Assembly’s passage of a bill introduced by state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco. The bill allows lifers to seek a sentence of 25-years-to-life with a chance for parole after serving 15 years.
in Pennsylvania, which has largest number of inmates whose sentences are covered by the Supreme Court ruling, the state Supreme Court has been considering the retroactivity question for over a year. The court’s decision could lead to the resentencing and eventual release of over 400 sentences.
In Michigan, Iowa, Illinois, Louisiana and Mississippi, judges have ruled that the Supreme Court decision applies retroactively to all prisoners serving such sentences. But in Minnesota and Florida, judges have ruled that the Supreme Court decision only applies to future cases.
State Supreme Courts in Illinois, Florida, Massachusetts and Colorado will likely consider the retroactivity question this fall, said Marsha Levick, chief counsel at the Juvenile Law Center, a legal advocacy group for youth.
Lawsuit: Hearings For Illinois Youth Are ‘Kangaroo Courts’
CHICAGO (AP) Hearings used in Illinois to revoke a juvenile’s parole amount to “kangaroo courts” that deny fundamental due-process rights and lead to the illegal detention of hundreds of children each year, a lawsuit filed Wednesday alleges.
The 15-page class-action suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago, argues that putting so many young people behind bars not only costs taxpayers millions but also suggests it may lock some kids into lives of crime once they become adults. The lawsuit, filed by Northwestern University Law School’s Roderick MacArthur Justice Center, names Illinois Prisoner Review Board Chairman Adam Monreal and Gov. Pat Quinn, and asks a judge to order the board to reform its procedures to comply with state and federal law.
exposed America’s cash for kids
scandal Pennsylvania – PA
in Pennsylvania, which has largest number of inmates whose sentences are covered by the Supreme Court ruling, the state Supreme Court has been considering the retroactivity question for over a year. The court’s decision could lead to the resentencing and eventual release of over 400 sentences. Less than a minute into the hearing the gavel came down. “Adjudicated delinquent!” the judge proclaimed, and sentenced her to three months in a juvenile detention centre. Hillary, who hadn’t even presented her side of the story, was handcuffed and led away. But her mother, Laurene, protested to the local law centre, setting in train a process that would uncover one of the most egregious violations of children’s rights in US legal history.
Last month the judge involved, Mark Ciavarella, and the presiding judge of the juvenile court, Michael Conahan, pleaded guilty to having accepted $2.6m (£1.8m) from the co-owner and builder of a private detention centre where children aged from 10 to 17 were locked up.
The cases of up to 2,000 children put into custody by Ciavarella over the past seven years – including that of Transue – are now being reviewed in a billowing scandal dubbed “kids for cash”. The alleged racket has raised questions about the cosy ties between the courts and private contractors, and about the harsh treatment meted out to adolescents.
American Legislative Exchange Council
During the late 1980s and early 1990s, state and local governments passed tough crime legislation. For example, California passed the “three strikes and you’re out” law which called for mandatory sentencing of repeat offenders, and New York adopted the “Broken Windows” strategy that called for the arrest and prosecution of all crimes large and small. #GovJerryBrown
The precedent was set in August of 2009 when California was federally-mandated to release over 40,000 prisoners in two years. The next step is for @ALEC to DEFY federal mandate by implementing #prisonIndustry in Canada and the US.
CHILDREN WITH PARENTS IN PRISON
- In 2007, 1.7 million children had a parent in prison on any given day.
- The number of children with parents in prison increased 80% between 1991 and 2007.
- 1 in 15 black children, 1 in 42 Latino children, and 1 in 111 white children had a parent in prison in 2007.
Black children are 7.5 times more likely and Hispanic children are 2.6 times more likely than are white children to have a parent in prison.
- Mich. Supreme Court Adds Juvenile Lifers To Docket (detroit.cbslocal.com)
- Action Alert: Michigan Legislative Black Caucus (zeatuolyon.wordpress.com)
- Kalamazoo juvenile lifer’s re-sentencing delayed as attorney awaits decisions from Michigan Supreme Court, lawmakers (mlive.com)
- Conn. panel hears comment on juvenile sentences (newsday.com)
- A Bid to Keep Youths Out of Adult Prisons (nytimes.com)
- Conn. Panel Resurrecting Juvenile Sentencing Bill (connecticut.cbslocal.com)
- Might California follow Texas and abolish all forms of juve LWOP? (sentencing.typepad.com)
- Research Paper Draft #3 (eb39869p.wordpress.com)
- Inmates learn tech sector from Silicon Valley pros (boston.com)
- Lots of media coverage anticipating SCOTUS arguments on JLWOP (sentencing.typepad.com)