Don’t put juveniles in jail for life

By | March 19, 2012

Dont put juveniles in jail for life

Dominic Culpepper has been sentenced to imprisonment until death in Florida for a crime committed at age 14.  – link

There are more than 2,500 people serving life sentences without the possibility of parole for crimes they committed when they were juveniles. Some were as young as 13 when they were sent to prison.

In 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that life without parole for juveniles convicted of crimes other than homicide violated the Constitution’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment, a ruling that extended the court’s logic in its 2005 decision to abolish the juvenile death penalty. In both of these cases, the court held that because adolescents are not as responsible for their actions as adults, they should not be punished as harshly, even for the same crimes.

The court relied in part on the research my colleagues and I conducted for the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Adolescent Development and Juvenile Justice showing that adolescents are less mature than adults in ways that make them more impulsive, more short-sighted and more susceptible to peer influence, all factors that make them less culpable.

On Tuesday, the court will hear appeals of two cases that ask whether life without parole is an appropriate sentence for juveniles convicted of homicide. Both cases involve people who were 14 at the time of their offense, but their crimes were very different. Kuntrell Jackson was part of a group of boys who shot a store clerk during a robbery of a video store in Arkansas; although Jackson did not do the shooting, he was found guilty of “felony murder,” because he was part of the group that committed a felony during which someone was killed. …

via Don’t put juveniles in jail for life – CNN.com.

There should he halfway communities where those being released are watched but can earn more freedom with good behavior.  If you commit a crime, you get placed in the rehab maze, the worse your crime, the deeper in the maze they put you. But, if you can adjust your brain, as verified by brain scans, then you can get out. I’d vote to use some new brain technology to help those convicted of crimes (only after fair trail and then only voluntarily) to adjust the reward and pleasure centers in their brains to be triggered by healthy things, things that are not crimes.

Science fiction movie idea: The world could end crime this way, not with mind control, but with a one time rewiring of your reward centers, and genetic modification to keep offspring of criminal minds from developing that way. What would the world be like if we had that level of control over our behavior as a society?

2 thoughts on “Don’t put juveniles in jail for life

  1. Ann

    MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Adolescent Development and Juvenile Justice found “that adolescents are less mature than adults in ways that make them more impulsive, more short-sighted and more susceptible to peer influence, …”

    Wow! Who would have thought young people are less mature than adults? Absolutely brilliant! Thank the gods for the courts, who, by the way, came up with the notion that Corporations have first amendment free speech rights, just as biological individual citizens – thanks to that judicial sage, Lewis Powell.

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