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Thursday, March 4, 2010

Floridia Sentences Juveniles To LWOP For Non-Homicide Offenses

Three of those ten large JLWOP states, California, Florida, and Louisiana, account for
88.3 percent of the national total (111) of juveniles sentenced to JLWOP for non-homicides.
While the ten states with large a number of JLWOPs have rendered a total of
1,966 JLWOP sentences, only 98 juveniles (5 percent of the total of the 10 states) received this
sentence for a non-homicide offense. 78 percent of those 98 juveniles sentenced to life without parole for non-homicides were sentenced in Florida.
. The proportion of all juvenile life without parole sentences that were for non homicides
in Florida is 25.5 percent, five times higher than second place Louisiana..

Across the nation, juvenile offenders have been sentenced to life without parole for the
following non-homicide crimes: kidnapping, sexual battery, robbery, battery, burglary, and
carjacking. 62 juvenile offenders have been sentenced to life without parole in the country for
robbery, burglary, battery, and carjacking.~ 61 of these juvenile offenders were sentenced in
twenty four offenders, three have only one JLWOP conviction. Florida has sentenced 46 youths
to JLWOP for armed robbery. Only one other armed robbery JLWOP conviction exists in the
nation: in Mississippi. All other reported JLWOP sentences for non-homicide crimes in the
U.S. were for kidnapping and sexual battery.
84% of this population is Black. and the youngest age at the time of
offense is 13 years old.
There may be other individuals in the country with JLWOP sentences for these crimes that are not included in this
study because they also have a JLWOP sentence for homicide.

The offense dates for these offenders begin in the early 1970s.
Of the juvenile offenders in Florida sentenced to life without parole for homicide offenses, 62% are Black.
(Florida Department of Corrections, June 10, 2009).
The Florida Department of Corrections lists two inmates as 13 years old at the time of their JLWOP offense.
These are Joe Sullivan and Douglas Blackshear. While Joe Sullivan was sentenced to life without parole for his crime.

The data presented in our study provides overwhelming evidence that Florida is out of step with
the nation: it stands alone in its willingness to condemn young people to life in prison for non homicides
without a chance of a reassessment of their lives in some future time.

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