10 August 2009

Florida Has No Mercy For Black Teens

While blacks represent about 16 percent of Florida's population, and about half its prison population, 84 percent of juveniles sentenced to life without parole for non-homicide offenses were African-American.

Florida has sentenced 77 young men to spend their lives in prison, without any chance of release, based on non-homicide crimes they committed when they were 17 years old or younger, according to a preliminary study by Florida State University researchers. Six of those prisoners were 13 or 14 at the time of their crimes. . . . some juveniles were given life without parole for as few as one or two convictions of non-homicide crimes. . . . Florida prisoners represent 69 percent of the 111 inmates reported nationally to be serving life without parole for their non-homicide juvenile crimes. Thirty-six states have no non-homicide juvenile lifers.

From here.

Two pending U.S. Supreme Court cases are reviewing Florida's extremely punitive approach to juvenile justice.

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