Sentencing Minors

Introduction

This paper will be exploring how minors, under the age of eighteen, are sentenced to life in jail for crimes in the United States that are committed when they were adolescent, and in some cases, children. There are many variables that affect how a juvenile is being sentenced, such as, the extent of the crime, the state’s policies, the public’s opinion, and national laws and policies on sentencing minors. There appears to be many flaws in sentencing minors to life in prison, but overall, the major questions is, is it not cruel and unusual punishment itself to sentence adolescents to life in prison?
Beyond some social factors that may be contributing to an adolescent’s ...

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are not fully developed physically, mentally, and cognitively. And because of this lack of development, they are not always aware of the consequences or the gravity of their crime.

History and Scope of Issue

The history of sentencing minors to life in prison began in the last thirty years, though the harsh punishment of children began a long time ago, and still appears to have lingering residual effects on American policies and the sentencing of children today. In 1646, the General Court of Massachusetts Bay Colony passed the Stubborn Child Law, allowing teenage boys who disobeyed their parents to be put to death (Feld, B., 2008). While today’s punishment of juveniles is not as harsh, they are still subject to being sentenced to life without parole, which is considered to be the harshest of punishments besides the death penalty (Liptak, A., 2007).
The concept of a “childhood” in the United States profoundly changed in the late 1800’s as children were no longer ...

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punishment and the adoption of life without parole sentences for children (Feld. B., 2008)

Perspectives & Analysis of Policy

The perspective on life without the possibility of parole for juveniles has obviously shifted over the years. Hundreds of years ago there was distinct corporal and harsh punishment that could be as severe as death, and that was widely accepted. But with the beginning of juvenile courts in Chicago in 1899 (Agyepong, A., (2010), society wanted to attempt to rehabilitate young offenders and update the older laws to more humane ways of punishing juveniles. This perspective seemed to have remained intact for the most part until the 1970’s and 80’s, when we waged ...

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PAPER DETAILS
Added: 6/26/2012 01:28:56 AM
Submitted By: boombasta75
Category: Legal Issues
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 2736
Pages: 10

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