The Atlantic

Life Without Parole for Kids Is Cruelty With No Benefit

The United States is the only country that allows this practice, and soon the Supreme Court could get rid of it.
Source: Annie Otzen / Hulton Archive / Getty / The Atlantic

In 2005, when Brett Jones was convicted of murder in Mississippi, his sentence was an automatic one: life without parole. No judge or juror could advocate for him to get anything less. Mississippi, like many other states, had adopted mandatory life without parole for first-degree murder. What makes Jones’s case, which the Supreme Court will hear next month, particularly urgent is that he was just 15 years old at the time of the crime.

Juvenile life-without-parole (LWOP) sentences are an abomination, and this case offers the justices a chance to do the right thing, and hasten the punishment’s demise. If they do not, states such as Mississippi will continue to flout the Constitution by allowing poorly supported juvenile LWOP sentences.

Juvenile LWOP sentences are unheard-of across the rest of the world. Today, the most other nations have signed on to.

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