Is Life Without Parole a Fair Sentence for all Juveniles?
I believe this would be a good research question. There are many factors that would lead into a juvenile having such a harsh punishment. The research may show reasons for both sides and questions that come to my mind are what types of crimes are they committing to receive this sentencing? Do the courts take into effect the juvenile’s history and home life?
There are approximately 2,600 inmates serving life without parole for committing crimes as juveniles (JLC, 2012). Statistics state that this large number of inmates it makes me think about what type of crimes they committed to receive such a punishment. Do these juvenile’s now adults think that because they have no possibility of parole means they should be rehabilitated since they are never getting out of prison? It’s sad to think that these juveniles could turn their life around and possibly be model citizens once back out in the population.
My thoughts are that the youth today facing criminal offenses need to be evaluated differently from adults in our courts and the appropriate laws should treat them accordingly. The crimes of juveniles need to be more closely evaluated while considering their age, family life, and other factors before a fair punishment can be agreed upon. Something I read while researching this topic was about a young woman Sarah Kruzan. At age 16 she shot and killed her pimp who had sexually and physically abused her. She was sentenced to life without parole. Now she is 32 years old and a model prisoner. She has volunteered for many rehabilitation programs and will be getting her associate degree from a local community college (LA Times, 2010). This type of story reminds me that a person still needs to be punished but also look at their backgrounds and home life. Could this person be rehabilitated after so much time. I think that life with possibility of parole should be the standard for juveniles.