Juvenile InjusticeSubmitted by ATruepatriot on Sun, 05/29/2011 - 12:16
This was sent to me by a friend that does advocacy work in California.Those that live in California please take special note:
I do writs for children doing life without parole as a volunteer. In the last five years, I have only had ONE case cross my desk that involved a child NOT on mind altering prescription medications. There are 2,500 children doing life without parole in this country, even though neuroscience now proves that children do NOT possess the judgment of adults. This is just an fyi as you do not live in Ca.....but I guarantee you, you have plenty of kids in your state who are serving 25 years or life without parole in ADULT prisons (rather than juvenile facilities).....a long slow death sentence in disguise.
Some facts you may not know:
1. Nearly 50% of all children (convicted between 12 and 17) who received life without parole had NEVER before committed any crime;
2. The US has the largest percentage of CHILDREN doing time in ADULT, not juvenile, facilities in the world;
3. Of those children who were convicted of murder, very few actually COMMITTED THE MURDER (and shockingly, those children were primarily in the company of ADULTS who did the actual killing AND who usually receive LIGHTER sentences than the children do);
4. When children are in prison under a life-without-parole sentence, most rehabilitation and educational programs are denied to them;
5. Our children who are impoverished, or suffer from disability, or who are on "medications," or who have been abandoned by parents and/or community are shockingly more likely to receive a draconian sentence: that said: one bad judgment call could land your child or grandchild in an adult prison for the rest of their life.
The Supreme Court has just ordered California to cut back on its prison population. I would think putting juvenile offenders in juvenile facilities, rather than adult penatentiaries, might be a sound starting point (even before releasing non-violent adult offenders).
It makes me sick to think that we believe ANY child should be held to adult standards, and if found "criminally responsible" by those standards, should ever be considered beyond redemption or rehabilitation. To me, this is a moral outrage.
Thank you for your time and attention and kind consideration. Please call your senator, or click on the site link to sign a form letter. We all need to be our brother's keeper in the face of such injustice and inhumanity.
why do adults who do actual killing tend to receive lighter sentences than children in their company at the time?, the2 key reasons are actually sadly obvious:
1) the adult killers tend to already have a criminal record, and understand how to navigate the criminal justice system; (have been to criminal u as you so aptly called it)
2) the children do not protect their own rights, and instead try to cooperate with and please authority figures (sadly improperly or falsely confessing in large numbers)
I have one gal, who at 14, after giving birth to her first child, was taken across state lines by 2 adult ex felons. Her mother reported her as missing. The three of them robbed a convenience store across state lines, and one of the adults, shot and killed the two store employees (the girl was NOT in the store at the time).
The two ex felons both testified that the 14 year old was the "mastermind" and they both made it to trial before she did (as her original public defender was arrested on, and prosecuted for, cocaine possession while the girl was awaitng her trial).
Her first incompetent (and possibly drug addled) public defender, allowed the girl to be interviewed by police and to make and sign statements against self-interest, AFTER the child was threatened with the death penalty.
It was the single most horrifying and distressing case I had ever examined when I first got involved. Sadly, now it just seems the norm.
Dear Supporter of Fair Sentencing for Youth:
Next week SB 9, the Fair Sentencing for Youth Act, will be voted on by the California Senate. If it passes, youth sentenced to life in prison without parole will be one step closer to having their cases reviewed and the possibility of being paroled some day.
This is one of those rare situations in which one minute can really make a difference. In the last year, I've seen how powerful a single call can be. Senators need to hear from those who believe young people deserve second chances. Your call today will help this bill pass.
Elizabeth Calvin on behalf of the Fair Sentencing for Youth Coalition
Senior Advocate, Children's Rights Division
Human Rights Watch