Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Response to "Redeeming Kids who Commit Henious Crimes"

The Supreme Court ruling did not eliminate life sentences for children who commit crimes, it only ruled out life sentences without the possibility of parole. The United States constitution forbids cruel and unusual punishment and the Supreme Court ruled that life without parole for minors constitutes this. This decision was most likely influenced by the precedent the Supreme Court set when it banned the death penalty for people under the age of 18 as well as banned life without parole for juveniles found guilty of non-homicides. In essence, this ruling broadens the scope of previous rulings.
In Jennifer's post, she wrote that juveniles will be given a “simple wag of the finger by the government and a probation period” but that is not the case. Minors who commit crimes will still be fully punished for their actions. In the case of capital murder, the sentence will still likely be life imprisonment. However, that life imprisonment will now garner some hope for children with the possibility of parole.
When somebody is under 18, they are still developing. Their mind and body are still evolving. Everyone in their lives make mistakes. Some mistakes are greater than others, such as if a minor kills somebody else. But what message does it send to a minor when the government locks them up and throws the key away. In a blink of an eye, they see their whole life disappear. Now that they are in prison, they see no reason to become a better person. Without the possibility of parole, they would have no reason to change. They are much more likely to become a more dangerous and violent person in prison. However, with the possibility of parole, they have a reason to become better.
Parole is not something that is granted easily. In order for a prisoner to be let out of prison, they must prove they are a rehabilitated person. In the case of murder, there are minimum prison terms that must be served before parole is even considered. With these, minors who commit murder will still see a majority of their life wasted away in a prison cell. But now that the Supreme Court has realized that life without parole for minors is indeed cruel, and unusual, there is a shot for rehabilitating these criminals.

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