Should juveniles be sentenced to life in jail without parole? This is a controversial topic in which there are many different opinions. Parole is when a prisoner is temporarily released from jail on supervision to prove good behavior. The supreme court ruled against life in prison without parole for juveniles in 2012. (aclu.org) This is a topic of debate today among lawmakers. The only crime that sends juveniles to jail for life is murder.
It is not right to send a child to jail for the rest of their lives. There are thirteen year old kids today who have been sentenced to life in jail without parole. Approximately 2,750 children are sentenced to juvenile life without parole a year. (aclu.org) Most will be in there for over sixty years!
When a child is sentenced to juvenile life, they will be separated from their family forever. They lose connection with the outside world and never really spend quality family time again. If these kids have a chance at parole, they have an opportunity to rehabilitate in a familiar environment. Their family could give them good advice and keep them out of trouble.
Keeping juveniles in jail for the rest of their lives is also a waste of money and space. There are thousands of jail cells needed to hold all of them. The prisons have to supply them with water and food every day. 50 billion dollars was spent last year on juveniles sentenced to life. (USAtoday.com) Should 50 billion dollars really be spent on locking children in jail?
People under the age of twenty-two do not have a fully developed brain. Children, young and learning, should not be thrown in jail right away when they make a mistake. They need to learn from their mistakes, while their brain is still developing.. It is not fair to send someone in jail that long when their brain is not even fully developed.
Some would argue that allowing convicted juveniles back into society is a major safety risk. If they are released, they could repeat their actions and continue to make bad choices. However, developing kids have a greater capacity to change in the right environment.
If children are given another shot and not thrown right into jail forever, it will benefit their state and their families. It is very cruel to throw a teenager in jail for the rest of their lives without a chance at redemption. What would you feel like if you lost your freedom forever at such a young age?