Children Sentenced to Die in Prison: Why a Lifetime Behind Bars is No Longer Justified for Juvenile Offenders
Brett Jones turned fifteen years old the summer before he was set to start high school. Twenty-three days later, he was arrested and charged as an adult. Now, he will spend the rest of his life behind bars. In the United States, a fifteen-year-old child cannot legally vote, drink alcohol, or – in most states – drive a car without adult supervision. That same fifteen-year-old, however, who is not considered responsible enough to buy a ticket to an R-rated movie, may be sentenced to life in prison without the opportunity for parole (“LWOP”). Not only is the United States the only nation which permits LWOP sentences for fifteen-year-olds, but the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States in Brett Jones’s case makes it clear that a sentencing judge does not even need to find that juveniles like Jones are “irreparably corrupt” or incapable of reform before imposing the harshest sentence available.
Children Sentenced to Die in Prison: Why a Lifetime Behind Bars is No Longer Justified for Juvenile Offenders,
87 Mo. L. Rev.
Available at: https://scholarship.law.missouri.edu/mlr/vol87/iss2/11