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Friday, August 20, 2010

Life Without Parole

Life without parole for children? -- San Diego Union Tribune
It is easy to understand the pain, anguish and desire for justice of people
who have suffered the loss of a loved one to violent crime. But justice is
not always easy to define. Virtually all first-degree murders are vicious
and senseless, almost by definition. A sentence of life without the
possibility of ever even being considered for parole is often the correct
definition of justice. But what if the killer was under 18 – a child under
the law? What if he or she had never before been in serious trouble? The U.S
Supreme Court has already ruled that killers under 18 cannot be subject to
the death penalty. But what about life without parole?

Legislature should pass Fair Sentencing for Youth Act -- Los Angeles Times
The Fair Sentencing for Youth Act, written by state Sen. Leland Yee (D- San
Francisco), would allow courts to review the cases of juveniles sentenced to
life without parole after they have served 10 years and allow some to be
resentenced to 25 years to life. Already passed by the Senate, the bill is
scheduled to be taken up by the Assembly on Thursday. What SB 399 would do
is bring California into closer accord with civilized sentencing norms and
standards. No other country sentences juveniles to life without parole. Yet
there are at least 270 serving such sentences in California prisons. SB 399
would also begin to align sentencing for juveniles with scientific evidence
about their neurological capabilities.

Computers can't replace human judgments here -- LA Daily News
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has quietly
embarked on a new and dangerous paradigm shift that replaces human judgment
with a computer program. Tens of thousands of critical parole decisions
regarding dangerous felons are now being made by a computer, rather than
parole experts. Under the new nonrevocable parole policy championed by CDCR,
state parolees who qualify are exempt from parole supervision and cannot be
sent back to prison for any parole violation. Because the public safety
consequences of releasing a felon onto NRP status are so dramatic,
determining who gets NRP should be made with the utmost care by parole
experts, not a computer.

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