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Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Sentencing Project Joins Allies in Opposing JLWOP Sentences

January 31, 2012 (The Sentencing Project)

The Sentencing Project Joins Allies in Opposing JLWOP Sentences

The Sentencing Project joins other amici in voicing our support for eliminating life without parole sentences for young people. The U.S. stands alone worldwide in the imposition of juvenile life sentences with no option for parole. The United States Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on March 20, 2012 in Miller v. Alabama and Jackson v. Hobbs.

Children in the US as young as eleven years old have been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of ever being paroled.

According to Amnesty International, the United States is the only country sentencing minors to mandatory life imprisonment sentences.

Ashley Nellis of the Sentencing Project says young people under 18 are being tried and sentenced as adults in homicide related crimes.

Amnesty International released a new report, "This is Where I'm Going to Be When I Die". The Human Rights organization says there is a legal and moral consensus that life imprisonment without the possibility of release should never be used against minors and is calling upon the US to stop.

More than 25 hundred adults are in US jails for committing crimes as juveniles. According to The Sentencing Project, about 75% are African American or Hispanic.

Nellis says sentences are handed down without considering factors such as history of abuse or mental health and the special potential for rehabilitation and change are ignored.

Last year, the US Supreme Court banned life sentences without parole for minors in non-murder cases. The Court has agreed to consider the issue in homicide cases as well. A decision is expected next year.

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