Juvenile Life Without Parole
Louisiana sentences more children to death in prison, per capita, than any other state. It's time we allow children serving life sentences an opportunity for redemption.
Scientific evidence proves what every parent already knows – children are far more impulsive and less able to weigh consequences than adults. But they are also exceptionally capable of positive change as they mature. As a result, youth tend to age out of the behaviors that bring them into the justice system, even if they have committed serious crimes.
That’s why the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled the practice of sentencing children to die in prison unconstitutional in all but the rarest cases. While children must be held accountable for their actions, they must also have the opportunity to redeem themselves.
But Louisiana has yet to follow the law. Since the Supreme Court ruled that life without parole sentences for children should be exceedingly “rare” and “uncommon,” Louisiana has handed out this sentence to 61% of eligible children. For the approximately 250 men and women who received these sentences prior to the Court’s ruling, district attorneys are seeking life without parole again in one-third of cases.
Louisiana has demonstrated time and again that it is not willing to comply with the Constitution. That’s why we continue to fight at both the state and national level to ensure that all children have the opportunity for parole review at some point in their lives.