If the child was not convicted of murder or attempted murder, I see no justification for a life sentence ["Supreme Court Weighs Juvenile Life Sentences," usnews.com]. I think it makes more sense for the child and the American taxpayer to attempt to reform a child and make them a law abiding, productive citizen. It would cost more to keep them in jail for life. If the attempt at reform fails then fine, keep them in jail. But to not even give these kids a chance is just plain stupid. Many kids are victims of circumstance and if given the tools to succeed they would.
Comment by Alice of AR
The United States is so far behind the enlightened view of the world on so many issues it is disheartening. For juveniles even the thought of 20 years is well beyond their comprehension and might as well be infinity. Those who are seen by appropriate legal and medical personnel not to be a threat to themselves or society should be given incentives such as educational achievement, involvement in music and sports, etc. and allowed to experience the world through careful guidance before and after release. But, to throw away the key is not the answer. As a citizen and retired forensic psychologist, I can think of no reason whatsoever to give life sentences without parole to any juvenile. And, many of the juveniles who commit crimes are neither mature nor have the intellect of education to appreciate the consequences of their actions.
Comment by Norman Murphy of CA
Children do not fully develop mentally until their twenties; therefore they cannot even be considered an adult. Though, those who cannot be reformed and continue to be a social disruption should not have a place in society, that does not mean we should give up on our impressionable youth. I personally believe the government should reinforce youth rehabilitation centers, because crime should be treated as an addiction. Addiction is a formed habit, as is something a child learns when they're young, which in this case is crime.
Comment by Sadi R. Smith of NY
I am ashamed to be [a citizen of] one of two countries that didn't sign a United Nation treaty to forbid life imprisonment of children without parole. And what are the "qualitative differences between the U.S. and other countries" when it comes to denying children the possibility of rehabilitation? Isn't it criminal and cruel and unusual punishment to lock up children for life (those who didn't take a life)? It's not asking for forgiveness of the crime but for some compassion for lives barely lived.
Comment by Gail Devlin of CA