Juveniles Life Without Parole

Wk 5 Discussion – Juveniles: Life Without Parole 

Conduct an Internet search for The Sentencing Project website.

Locate the “Juvenile Life Without Parole: An Overview” document from The Sentencing Project website. 

Respond to the following questions in a 200- to 350-word response: 

Which U.S. Supreme Court rulings set restrictions on capital punishment for juvenile offenders? On what basis were these rulings made?

Is it fair for juvenile offenders to face the prospect of life without parole?

The United States is the only country that allows for juvenile offenders to spend the rest of their lives in prison. Should there be reform in this area?

Should cost be a factor in making these decisions?

I was shocked and somewhat disgusted by what I read. I was not aware of most of the information nor the laws concerning those cases. I learned that in 2005, the case of Roper v. Simmons, brought an end to juvenile offenders receiving life without parole if they were under the age of 18. I agree 100% with the reasoning for that decision. (Rovner, 2019).

I also noted that Rovner (2019), “In Miller, Justice Kagan noted that adolescence is marked by “immaturity, impetuosity, and failure to appreciate risks and consequences,” all factors that limit an adolescent’s ability to make sound judgments.” (Roper v. Simmons, 543 U.S. 551 (2005)).

Is it fair? I normally don’t like discussing fairness because a lot of things in life “isn’t fair.” Example, I may qualify for a position at work, and someone who does not qualify gets the position. Not that I have experienced that situation, but you understand what I am saying. So, I will say it is unjust and damaging punishment.

Yes, there absolutely should be reform in the area of JLWOP. Adults who are currently incarcerated should be released, especially if they have been incarcerated for many years. Rovner (2019), “Eliminating juvenile life without parole does not suggest guaranteed release of these offenders. Rather, it would provide that an opportunity for review be granted after a reasonable period of incarceration, one that takes into consideration the unique circumstances of each defendant. In Montgomery, the Court ruled that “allowing those offenders to be considered for parole ensures that juveniles whose crimes reflected only transient immaturity – and who have since matured – will not be forced to serve a disproportionate sentence in violation of the 8th Amendment.” (Roper v. Simmons, 543 U.S. 551 (2005)).

Although I agree with my fellow classmates, that we cannot put a price on a life, we must consider the cost of housing JLWOP, it cannot be overlooked. Of course, the cost doubles due to the years being doubled. Rovner (2019), “it requires decades of public expenditures.” (Roper v. Simmons, 543 U.S. 551 (2005)).

There is a ray of hope for all states to have a reform in this area, many states already do. (Rovner, 2019). For me it is common sense that if kids can’t vote, buy cigarettes, alcohol ect, there is a reason for those laws, children’s brains do not work like that of adults.

Rovner, J. (2019). Juvenile Life Without Parole: An Overview. The Sentencing Project. Retrieved from https://www.sentencingproject.org/publications/juvenile-life-without-parole/