19 November 2007

Kids Locked Up For Life

California currently has 227 inmates serving such sentences for crimes committed before they turned 18; Pennsylvania has 433.

The study, titled "Sentencing Our Children to Die in Prison," also found that the United States has far more juveniles serving life terms than any other country — 2,387 at present — with Israel running a distant second at 7. Israel, the only other country that imprisons juveniles for life, according to the study, has not issued such a sentence since 2004.

In the United States, life terms have fallen disproportionately on youths of color, with black juveniles 10 times more likely than white juveniles to be given a life without parole sentence, the report found. In California, black juveniles are 20 times more likely to receive such sentences.

From the AP via the Sentencing Law and Policy Blog. Full report here.

The original report explains that the United States and Israel are the only countries in the world that have people current serving life in prison without possibility of parole for juvenile crimes. Several African countries recently abandoned the practice. Several other countries have laws on the books that authorize that sentence but have imposed it upon no one currently serving a sentence. Israel sentences juveniles to life in prison without parole at about a third the rate of the United States.

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