Life Without Parole for Juveniles

analytical Essay
958 words
958 words

Supreme Court ruling Graham v. Florida (2010) banned the use of life without parole for juveniles who committed non-homicide crimes, and Roper v. Simmons (2005) abolished the use of the death penalty for juvenile offenders. They both argued that these sentences violated the 8th Amendment, which prohibits cruel and unusual punishment. While these landmark cases made great strides for the rights of minors passing through the criminal justice system, they are just the first steps in creating a juvenile justice system that takes into consideration the vast differences between adolescents and adults. Using sociological (Butler, 2010) and legal (Harvard Law Review, 2010) documents, this essay will explicate why the next such step to be taken is entirely eliminating the use of the life without parole sentence for juveniles, regardless of the nature of the crime being charged. In a modern Western society where there is significant amount of research done of rehabilitation and criminal justice reform, the practice of sentencing JLWOP (Juvenile Life Without Parole) seems outdated and primitive. There are a number of prominent human rights groups that advocate for the banning of the LWOP sentence for juvenile offenders. In his 2010 article for the Journal of Offender Rehabilitation titled ‘Extinguishing All Hope: Life-Without-Parole for Juveniles,’ Frank Butler breaks down the ethical arguments against the sentence from a social policy perspective. He uses a number of pertinent facts and dates to support and enhance his argument, but retains a clear and concise presentation style, making the document easy to read and comprehend on an analytical level. It is clear from his title that it is not an objective piece, but his opinion is supporte... ... middle of paper ... beckoned in with the 21st century. While U.S.’s JLWOP laws are inconsistent with many human rights treatises and with international law, it is more important for our policies to be based on a thorough understanding of the issue- the most essential being a separation of the processes for juvenile and adult criminal offenders. With an emphasis on rehabilitation for juvenile offenders, and the goal of encouraging maturity and personal development after wayward actions, the futures of many teens in the criminal justice system can become much more hopeful. Works Cited Butler, Frank (2010) ‘Extinguishing All Hope: Life-Without-Parole for Juveniles’, Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, 49: 4, 273-292 “Criminal Law and Procedure -Eighth Amendment-€ Juvenile Life Without Parole Sentences: Graham v. Florida” (2009) Harvard Law Review. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Apr. 2011.

In this essay, the author

  • Argues that the supreme court rulings in graham v. florida (2010) and simmons (2005) abolished the use of the death penalty for juvenile offenders violate the 8th amendment.
  • Analyzes how frank butler's article, 'extinguishing all hope: life-without-parole for juveniles,' supports the ethical arguments against the sentence from a social policy perspective.
  • Analyzes the harvard law review's 2010 "criminal law and procedure -eighth amendment- juvenile life without parole sentences: graham v. florida."
  • Analyzes butler, frank's article, "extinguishing all hope: life-without-parole for juveniles", journal of offender rehabilitation, 49: 4, 273-292.
Get Access