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Judge Regrets Sentencing Teen to Life Without Parole

Speaking of harsh penalties, how’s 241 years in prison for a 16-year-old boy? Well, it happened to this boy twenty years ago. The judge who sentenced him told him he’d die in prison. She told him he wouldn’t even be eligible for parole until 2091, when no one he knew would be alive, anyway. One can Read More

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Two Tears

Two true stories, that is, of people on a sex-offender registry. The first. Today, she’s a 34-year-old mother of two great kids. Back then, she was a teenager herself when she slept with a boy on the night of her 19th birthday party. The boy was mature enough to pursue her but, as it happened, he was 14. His Read More

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Lifetime Sex-Offender Registration for Kids

Do you think sex-offender registration is punishment? What if it’s for life? What if it’s for a 12-year-old boy? Last week, the California Court of Appeal ruled that it’s not punishment to call a kid a sex offender for life because of something he did when he was twelve years old. According to the court, the boy’s early years Read More

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Our Ballooning Sex-Offender Registries

California’s not the only state having trouble with its sex-offender-registration regime. In New York, the prisons are holding people past their release dates because they can’t find anywhere to live, and nearly 95% of the homeless shelters are off-limits, too. The problem is that we don’t pass these laws on the basis of reason and evidence but Read More

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Pope Francis Calls for the End of LWOP Sentences

While California still tolerates sentences of life without the possibility of parole for juveniles, and Massachusetts has ruled them out entirely, there is variation nationwide in the use of life sentences—with or without the possibility of parole—in all cases and for all people. An interesting, multi-state report by The Sentencing Project identifies a total of 160,000 people as serving life sentences as of 2012, Read More

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Should We Ever Sentence Children to Life Without the Possibility of Parole?

What’s wrong with possibilities? Earlier this month, the California Court of Appeal held that a trial court could impose a sentence of life without the possibility of parole (or LWOP) on a 16-year-old boy even though the court could not rule out the possibility of rehabilitation. He’s older now, but the boy was just sixteen years old when he committed Read More

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